LINLEY SAMBOURNE: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist

LINLEY SAMBOURNE: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist

LEONEE ORMOND    Book Number: 86627    Product format: Paperback

For more than 40 years, Linley Sambourne had been a draughtsman for the comic magazine Punch, rising to the position of 'First Cartoonist' in his final decade until his death in 1910. A natural humourist, teller of comic tales, a lively and cheerful companion, he became a frequent guest of the rich and successful, but his origins were very different. His father was an importer of furs from America, based in the city of London, but the family came from Sheffield where Linley moved when he was eight years old in 1852. He became a pupil at the City of London School when he was 10 or 11 and from 1857 sent to Chester Training College where he was encouraged to pursue his talent for drawing and draughtsmanship. Details of his early life are fragmentary but a tantalising diary entry refers to him having been 'assaulted' at Sandgate in Kent in 1864. Documents reveal that he became a Druid and a Freemason in 1871 and 1872. Intelligent and eager to learn, he studied the work of the great graphic artists Dürer together with Hogarth and 18th century English masters. Napoleon and his military campaigns were a lifelong passion and he introduced the figure of the Emperor into his cartoons whenever a chance presented itself. An example is an 1899 cartoon showing the defeated Liberal leader Lord Rosebery as Napoleon, gazing into the fire after his own Battle of Waterloo. His first published drawing for Punch was on 27th April 1867. It was an initial letter 'T' showing the radical politician John Bright charging at a medieval quintain and another a sketch of Bright as a moth, flying into the flame of a candle marked Reform. In another Benjamin Disraeli kneels in Elizabethan costume with a rolled manuscript again marked Reform held out on a platter before him. Sambourne was among the beneficiaries of a revolution in printing techniques which made it possible to produce large runs of illustrated books and magazines and the block with the wood engraving combined with the type for ease of reproduction. Sambourne throve on a radical brand of humour, ridiculing pomposity, hypocrisy and cant. During his career the tone became more gradually conservative and gentlemanly in this Victorian age and was a family magazine, and its political position shifted towards the right. The staff however were still convivial Fleet Street men, old fashioned 'Bohemians'. Here is details of the dinners and meetings of what would be the main political cartoon and themes for the paper, with contributors such as John Tenniel and Du Maurier. He soon discovered a theme of presenting beautiful women in supremely elegant dresses, hats and hairstyles, each of them resembling an animal or a bird. This ingenious anthropomorphism was to become a hallmark of the early Sambourne. Linley Sambourne House at 8 Stafford Terrace Kensington is his remarkably preserved home today. 312pp, hundreds of cartoon examples and photos, heavyweight softback.
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ISBN 9781907372032
Browse these categories as well: Last Chance to buy!, Humour, Historical Biography

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