Thomas MidwoodA remarkably clever caricaturist

Characters in context

He was Hobart's one and only cartoonist of that period, and he pictured every character in the city that was worth handing on to posterity, from poor old "Nobby" Dickson, who sold a cigar and a light, to the Judges on the Supreme Court Bench. Clergymen, barristers, musicians, public servants, business men, publicans, as well as sinners, all came under the spell of his magic pencil and brush.

The Mercury, 3 May 1928

Where are the ladies?

Thomas Midwood illustrations reflect the male dominated public sector and business world of late 19th century Hobart.   There are only two illustrations of women in the Library's Special & Rare, Midwood Collection, Miss Effie Milne and Miss Sarah Bignell.

Even at the time Tom's caricatures resulted in some critical commentary.


I have been shown a caricature of the Bellerive Band of Mercy, the work of Mr Tom Midwood, in which some very clever local allusions are produced, but if I may be permitted, I should like to offer a word of advice to the caricaturist, and that is – in future works of the kind, ladies should not be held up to ridicule it is a matter of regret that a little thought was not exercised in manufacturing the picture, and ladies saved from the unpleasantness of their caricatures being sold and placed in bar parlours to create mirth for those possessed of but little sympathy toward the good work that they self-denying ladies are performing.

The Colonist14 June 1890

The minstrel sterotype

Some of Midwood's illustrations and woodcarvings,  appear to draw on the late 19th century minstrel show tradition of African-Americans racial stereotyping .  This may be a reflection of Tom's time playing his banjo across the USA during the 1880s.