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This endearing caricature is from Vanity Fair. The work was published from 1868 to 1914 in London by Ranken and Co. Vanity Fair was a weekly magazine of social, literary, and political content. Victorian and Edwardian England celebrated the work and most noted were it’s caricatures of famous men and women of the time.
Thomas Gibson Bowles was the founder, owner, and editor of the magazine until 1889. He described the images as “grim faces made more grim, grotesque figures made more grotesque, and dull people made duller by the genius of our talented collaborator ‘Ape’; but there is nothing that has been treated with a set purpose to make it something that it was not already originally in a lesser degree.” Bowles also wrote the biographical commentaries on each caricature under the pseudonym ‘Jehu Junior’. Other contributors to the magazine include Lewis Carroll, Willie Wilde, P. G. Wodehouse, Jessie Pope and Bertram Fletcher Robinson.
Vanity Fair also featured word games, book and theater reviews, financial advice columns, serialized fiction, travel reports, and more. Eventually the magazine moved away from political and economic news and moved on to more social ventures. It remained informative as well as amusing throughout its publication. The caricatures are quintessentially English and have gained popularity among collectors and interior designers.
The most memorable parts of the magazine were the biographies and accompanying caricatures. These were conceived by Bowles, who added them to the magazine in the first year of its existence. Ultimately there were 2300 caricatures, always somewhat to quite ridiculous, but perceptive and revealing.