Title Album of Original Pen-and-Ink Victorian Caricature and Cartoons
Binding Half Calf, pebbled cloth
Book Condition Very Good
Publisher England 1879
Seller ID 004234
Circa 1879. One illustration near the end of the album is dated 1879, and so we assume they all come from that date, or a few years prior or after. Oblong, 15 by 24 cm. 25 pp. with fine, even brilliant, pen-and-ink caricatures and cartoons. The work is unquestionably of professional quality, but there are no signatures or other indicia of authorship. The style would have fit right in with "Punch", and one can see a kinship with Tenniel or DuMaurier, to name two of the best known contributors to that humor magazine. Here the heads are often oversized atop miniaturized bodies. The artist reveled in detail, with niceties of dress and appurtenances meticulously rendered. Emotion and expression are very skillfully etched onto the characters' faces. Caricatured are readily recognized types, as opposed to well-known politicians and celebrities. Whether dandies, socialities, domestics, swains, scalawags, hypocrites; whether haughty, high-strung, demure, straight or crooked, these are figures very specific to their time and place, yet one need not exercise too much imagination to extrapolate them to a more timeless, universal cast of characters. The artwork represented here can be divided into character studies, standalone funny cartoon, and finally, multi-cell or interconnected group of drawings, with a few of the pages fitting into more than one category. A number of the cartoons have captions, but these are almost superfluous -- the drawings tell their story effectively without words. The humor contained in the captions can now come off as obscure, even when one understands its point-of-reference. Some of the cartoons are unquestionably Rascist, showing black people as savages or preposterous grown children or imposters. On a more positive note, we can select from almost any of the drawings for a slightly in depth description, but we will single out one entitled "The Great International Ass Show at Kilburn". In this cartoon, we have six anthorpormorphic donkeys representing different types, such as the Imperialist Bully, the Fashion Noodle and the Strike Dolt. One might have to see the drawings to fully appreciate their quality; let it just be said that one would have to be humorless and thick-skulled not to be tickled and delighted by these variations on a theme. From the library of Ronald Searle, the great English 20th century cartoonist. Rebacked. Rubbed coerners, with a chip in lower rear. Clean within.