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Churchill in Punch

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Churchill in Punch

Post by Karen on Tue 2 Aug 2011 - 1:37

Mr. Punch's Third (and last) Volume of the Victorian Era (Bradbury and Agnew) brings us down to the Jubilee. A shouting crowd at window and balcony suggests the great procession to Westminster Abbey; an encounter between Neptune and Vulcan indicates the Spithead Review; the British Lion looking somewhat worn "after the Jubilee" symbolises the reaction; and the whole appropriately closes with a vignette of Mr. Punch paddling his own canoe down an avenue of monstrous ironclads. Mr. Gladstone is, of course, in various capacities the chief hero of this volume; but some of the illustrations are such as he will hardly look back upon now with pleasure. In one, for instance, he appears as the sailor in Victor Hugo's "Toilers of the Sea," grappling with the devil-fish in the shape of the Land League, who is coiling his huge tentacles round him. In another he is a policeman collaring a ruffian in a frieze coat, who stands for Mr. Parnell. In another he stands as Dante guided by the shade of O'Connell looking down sternly upon an Irish "Inferno" of screaming combatants. Still more suggestive is a fine drawing of an Irish Frankenstein stalking along with mask and dagger, while Mr. Parnell sinks on his knee in terror at the monster he has created. It is a graphic comment on the "third life" which Mr. O'Shea has lately told us was in peril after the Phoenix Park murders. It is remarkable, by the way, that at this time Mr. Parnell is drawn with a moustache, but no beard. Did he grow his beard when he changed his signature? Lord Randolph Churchill is another favourite of Mr. Punch. Sometimes he appears as Puck, misleading the Continental world with the dark lantern of "Spencer," sometimes as Jack Shepherd purloining Mr. Gladstone's bills, who enters behind him in his night-shirt with a candle and a blunderbuss; or again, in a very comical cartoon, as young King Cole, with his fiddlers three, in the persons of Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Goschen, and Lord Hartington. Anyone who amuses himself by turning over the pages of these three volumes will find in them a memorial, not less instructive than humorous and artistic, of the chief occurrences and sentiments of the reign of Queen Victoria.

Source: The Guardian, October 24, 1888, Page 1609

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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