This charming caricature by the famous British humorist George Fredrick Hudson (1875-1966) probably dates to the first decade of the 20th century. It was created using pen, black ink, and watercolor, measures 13.7 x 20 cm, and features the artist’s monogram in the lower right corner.
The artwork is executed in caricature form and envisions a futuristic concept of long-distance telephone communication between the United Kingdom and Africa.
In the cartoon, a humorous double scene unfolds. On the left, an indigenous African servant is holding a telephone for his master, lying in a hammock between two palm trees. Mosquitoes surround the colonial master, and a second servant tries to wave them away. On the other side, an Englishman asleep next to his wife in London is seemingly awakened by the long-distance call, which spans the image of a globe in the middle.
The conversation between the two results in an amusing exchange of complaints. On the African side, the colonial master complains about an inability to sleep due to the loud snoring of the Englishman’s wife, while the Englishman expresses frustration at the noise created by the mosquitoes, making it difficult for him to “get a wink of sleep.”
This delightful artwork captures the imagination of its viewers by visualizing the potential for long-distance communication in an entertaining and light-hearted manner.