Title Victorian Album of Original Mounted Zany Caricatures Done in Pen-and-Ink, Some Watercolors, with Numerous Miniatures
Binding Full Morocco
Book Condition Very Good
Seller ID 005415
A fun house mirror into Victorian society, with over 300 clippings creating a collage of organized chaos on many of the pages. In our view, the arrangement of the imagery augments the irreverent spirit of the caricatures. 4to. 27.5 by 22 cm. Unpaginated, 73 pages of visual content, with all rectos used and some versos, with, by our count, a total of 309 separate mounted pieces with original artwork. Of these, 50 are colored. Not all the mounted illustrations are caricature, but the overwhelming majority are, and the cumulative effect of the album is an exuberant playfulness. The sheer number of caricatures crammed into these pages gives one the sense that a broad swath of Victorian society, bourgeois and noble, has come in for skewering. MPs, operagoers, jockeys, young and old lovers, musicians, minstrel performers, etc. etc. -- no one is spared. The miniatures, although not great in number, pack an outsized wallop, as well as speak the skill of the artist The artwork appears to us to have been done by a single person, a gifted amateur, about whom we know nothing with certainty. The strongest clue about him is a piece that states "School of Medicine Liverpool". Yet only a few of the clips near this appear to be poking fun at doctors and patients. The album is most definitely scrappy, but while this can be meant pejoratively, here the scrappiness of the album contributes to its charm, for the chock-a-block imagery on the page truly acts like a kaleidoscope -- hence, again, the fun house analogy above. Undoubtedly viewers will find similarities to Tenniel, du Maurier, Leech, and we can comfortably assume that "Punch" magazine was not unappreciated by this artist. The dating is based on one entry on the fourth page, "My diary 1881". We would assume that much of the artwork might have been done prior to this, later than this, or both, but the 1881 helps anchor the album, and we would add, much of the dress and styles exhibited in the album would reinforce this dating, loosely-speaking. To return to the question of the amount of color, there is some subjectivity in our categorization. We didn't include as colored pieces with what we thought, given the drawing, was a trivial amount of color. Also, we would note that the pieces were of widely varying size and shape, and there were some larger pieces that read as more than a single work of art, or were within themselves, a montage of sorts. As to the color quotient, when we do a page count assessment, we come up with 15 pages that read as color. Either way, the color quotient falls in the range of 16 to 20 percent, which is in line with our subjective impression leafing through the pages.