New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
  2. Art & Design
12 April 2023

Ralph Steadman on 110 years of the New Statesman: “I’d enjoy drawing Trump’s demise”

The illustrator on working with the magazine since 1976.

By Gerry Brakus

When Anthony Howard, then editor of the New Statesman, first asked Ralph Steadman to draw for the magazine in 1976, he couldn’t have known he would, for a time, decide to stop illustrating politicians in the mid-1980s. Throwing so much creative energy and passion into the issues that angered and inspired him “changed nothing” said Steadman: he felt that none of these “dreadful” figures deserved to be drawn by him.

Fortunately, many of Steadman’s takes on the political landscape featured in the pages of this magazine. His controversial image of the birth of Jesus, called “Maggie and Child”, depicted Margaret Thatcher, the then prime minister, as a ­subhuman creature holding a monstrous-looking baby. The ­illustration landed on the cover of the Christmas issue in 1983.

Steadman has drawn every US president in his working lifetime – apart from George Bush Snr (he’s not sure why) – and including Joe Biden for the New Statesman in 2022. He thoroughly enjoyed drawing Donald Trump in a Stars and Stripes nappy, an illustration entitled “Porky Pie”, for the magazine in 2015, a year before Trump’s election.

Is there anyone he’d like to draw now? “I’d like to see ‘The Demise of Trump’ and would enjoy picking my pen up for that – what a vile and hideous creature,” Ralph says. But Steadman remains disillusioned with global political affairs and its players, judging that his portrayal of many of them over the years as grotesque and immoral was “about right”.

Steadman continues to read the New Statesman every week, particularly enjoying its “lighter side”, which he feels is crucial. He singles out Becky ­Barnicoat’s cartoon strip and the images in the magazine as his personal highlights.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

He’s also promised to continue sending in his thoughts on the New Statesman when he’s both “cross” and “happy” about the state of things. “I don’t see any other magazines ­covering these frightening times in the same way,” he says. 

He’ll be keeping watch on the continued ­coverage of the indictments against Donald Trump and says he will let the magazine know when he’s ready for his next NS contribution, as he continues to keep his critical eye and ink pens busy.

[Listen now: The New Statesman’s 110th anniversary podcast: nine political editors reunite]

Become a subscriber and support our truth-telling journalism from as little as £49 a year! Or get a free tote bag if you subscribe to our bundle plan. Visit newstatesman.com/110subscribe to explore our anniversary offers

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy

Topics in this article : ,

This article appears in the 12 Apr 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The Anniversary Issue