Bespoke Cards

Christmas Cards

Re: Hamilton Coe’s Cards


I strongly recommend that you make some excuse for rejecting this commission. For years, Hamilton has encouraged artists to “have fun” with his card, only to take umbrage when presented with caricature that identifies some inescapable aspect of a personality that is – by the most generous assessment – disconcertingly odd.

Last year Gordon Gilfeather submitted an innocuous cartoon in which an infant H.C. investigates Santa – peering at him from behind a Christmas tree. This was preceded by a dozen or so emails in which Gordon presented his ideas and sketches, all of which were approved in the most effusive terms. On receiving his cards, though, Hamilton complained that the (agreed) depiction made him look ‘furtive’ and cancelled Gordon’s cheque.

If you do proceed, I’d suggest that you a) insist on a cash payment (prior to printing) and b) present Hamilton in a heroic light. Avoid scenarios, however absurd, in which he appears ‘cowardly’, ‘bumptious’ or ‘cruel’ (all historical pretexts for non-payment) and, however tempting, don’t exaggerate the size of his head.