Claude Marquet was a self-taught black and white artist, who grew up in Moonta South Australia. He worked in the copper mines there, then as a printer's compositor. His career as a cartoonist began with the Adelaide weekly magazine the Quiz in 1897.

In 1902 he moved to Melbourne, from where he had work published in the Bulletin and the radical labour newspaper Tocsin, but he also drew for conservative publications like Table Talk and Melbourne Punch. In 1906 he moved to Sydney at the invitation of the Australian Worker and remained there until his early death in a sailing accident in 1920.

Marquet drew in a bold style, that reproduced well in newspaper print. He used many of the conventional symbols of the time - allegorical representations of Australia, Democracy or Liberty, but also the instantly recognisable figure of the bloated capitalist in a top hat, 'Mr Fat', or his female equivalent, 'Mrs Toorak'. His anti-conscription cartoons were some of his most famous: one million copies of 'The Blood Vote' were printed in 1916-17. Marquet also drew some particularly uncharitable caricatures of Billy Hughes, often associating him with either the devil, or with the allegorical figure of Death ('The Death Ballot'). His celebratory cartoon on the defeat of the 1916 conscription referendum, 'Prussianism Defeated: The Glorious 28th' is a particularly fine example of allegorical composition.  His untimely death in 1920 deprived the labour movement of a hugely talented caricaturist.

The Blood Vote. Part of the Propaganda of the Conscription debate.
National Library of Australia image.
State Library of Victoria image.
National Library of Australia image.
State Library of NSW image.

Related content: