Universities Federation for Animal Welfare Fougasse charity gummed tapeA pile of popular 1930s sheet music, clearly much loved and used, judging by the amount of repair work carried out on it over the years. Flaking dried out sellotape leaves a residue which I don’t think can be removed from old paper so most of it was spoilt, but one piece caught my eye. It had been mended using some sort of gummed paper tape. I bought it and back home under the glass, the tape looked amazing. A row of fourteen cartoon animals all sat in row, looking expectantly at a man reading from a paper. I soaked the music in water for a couple of hours and managed to ease the gum enough to loosen the scraps of paper tape.
It turned out to be from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, a charity founded back in the 1920s and still going, taking this convoluted name in 1938 (so convoluted that their website abbreviates it 99 times out of 100 on their own website!).
What was of interest was the cartoonist who had signed the piece; Fougasse. A name well known enough to anyone interested in cartoon history for his work during WW2 including the very famous ‘Careless talk costs lives’ propaganda poster.
This little sketch is typical of his style, managing to get across emotion with the smallest of pen lines. How you actually get cartoon animals – from a cow to a mouse – to look nervous and concerned in a sketch barely half an inch high beats me, but he does so. And what a contrast to the high colour glossy animal welfare campaigns which we’re used to today.
The gummed paper tape was clearly offered for sale at half a crown for 250 ft and does have a 1940s look about it, though I don’t know the exact date. The image and text is repeated every six inches or so.


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