WRITER and politician Lord Jeffrey Archer is putting his extensive collection of political cartoons under the hammer to raise funds for educational charities.

The portfolio of 240 works, collected over three decades, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s next March after being put on public display for the first time.

Among the pieces by 64 artists are works by famed 18th to 19th century caricaturists James Gillray and George Cruikshank.

With drawings centred on figures such as John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, the collection chronicles 300 years of political history across the UK and America.

It includes Lord Archer’s first acquisition in 1986: Ronald Searle’s portrayal of the public’s reaction to the portrait of Winston Churchill by Graham Sutherland.

The collection was developed in collaboration with art dealer Chris Beetles.

He said: “Cartoons have always appealed to the British public.

“Cartoonists both respond to the prevailing mood of the public and create a recognisable parallel world inhabited by politicians, the features and demeanour of which are distorted through the art of caricature.

“The collection gives us valuable insights into how, over the three centuries covered by the collection, cartoon imagery has changed to reflect the relationship the public has with politicians, the way propaganda is disseminated and the effect television and new communication networks have on our perception of politics.”

Sotheby’s will display the collection from March 10-13 before the sale on March 14.