Sink or Swim? Catholicism in 60s Britain through John Ryan’s ‘Catholic Herald’ cartoons

15 March 2019

Exhibition dates: 17 January – 13 April 2019

Open: Monday – Friday 9.30 – 17.00; Saturday 10.00 – 18.00

The Weston Room, Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR

This exhibition celebrates the work of John Ryan (1921-2009), whose weekly cartoons in the ‘Catholic Herald’ cast a gently satirical eye on the changes and challenges faced by British Catholicism – and Anglicanism- in the 1960s.

Curated by Alana Harris (teacher of Modern British History at King’s College London) and Isabel Ryan. See how the topical, humorous lens of Ryan’s weekly cartoons illuminates the turbulent Sixties agenda- how did Catholics respond to ‘Vatican II’ and the ‘Humanae Vitae’ encyclical? How did the permissive society and its enemies react, what happened with the liturgy, the clergy, volatile politics, ecumenism, secularisation, birth control and education? On display in showcases: touch-relics and holy cards, rhythm-method birth-control meter, radical books and posters and a wealth of Ryan’s original artwork from the Sixties and beyond.

It is accompanied by a sister exhibition, ‘Captain Pugwash – Ahoy Me Hearties!’, a merry and colourful display of posters that will immerse you in the world of John Ryan’s Captain Pugwash books and television programmes – treasure maps, sea monsters, sea battles, and Pugwash’s arch enemy, the wicked Cut-Throat Jake.

For details of admission see: