<p>Edward Lear. <i>The book of nonsense</i>. London: Warne, 1898.</p><p>These days Edward Lear is best known for his comic rhymes like <i>The Owl and the Pussycat</i> and the limericks which first appeared in <i>The book of nonsense</i> in 1846.</p><p>His career as a serious artist is often forgotten in the continued popularity of his absurd verses, which he illustrated with equally absurd line drawings. <i>The book of nonsense</i> was composed for children but still appeals to all ages.</p> <p>William Combe. <i>The dance of life : a poem.</i> Illustrated by Thomas Rowlandson. London: R. Ackermann, 1817.</p><p>Thomas Rowlandson was one of the great social and political caricaturists of the late 18th and early 19th century.</p><p>His illustrations for William Combe's <i>The dance of life</i> are in the tradition of William Hogarth's moral tales of corrupted youth. The masquerade ball was a favourite place for secret assignations and identities hidden behind masks.</p> <p>William Hone. <i>The political house that Jack built.</i> Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Hone, 1820.</p><p>The Prince Regent (George IV from 1820) was an ideal subject for satirists because of his dissolute life and extravagant habits. He is easily recognizable in this caricature by George Cruikshank, wearing his Prince of Wales feathers, and described by William Hone as 'the dandy of sixty...who, to tricksters and fools, leaves the State and its treasure.'</p><p>Many of Cruikshank's caricatures were fiercely political, often attacking the royal family and all the leading politicians impartially.</p> <p>Henry Alken. <i>Tutors assistant.</i> London: Thomas McLean, 1823.</p><p>Henry Alken is best known for his sporting prints, but also produced lively humorous etchings on other social themes. Here he uses grammar to ridicule the fashions and behaviour of aristocrats of the early 19th century.</p> <p><i>The looking glass, or, Caricature annual. Vol. 5, nos. 49-60.</i> London: Thomas McLean, 1834.</p><p>The publisher and printseller Thomas McLean specialised in producing cartoons which featured in journals like his <i>Monthly sheet of caricatures.</i></p><p>This lithograph by the artist William Heath depicts the effects of the evil 'Drink' and is dedicated to the Temperance Society.</p> <p>Charles Dickens. <i>Dombey and son.</i> Illustrated by H. K. Browne (Phiz). London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.</p><p>Many of Charles Dickens' novels were illustrated with steel etchings by Hablot Knight Browne, also known as 'Phiz'. </p><p>In this first edition of <i>Dombey and Son</i>, Browne's illustration heightens the comedy of Captain Cuttle trying to escape the formidable figure of Mrs Mac Stinger from whom he has been (unsuccessfully) hiding.</p> <p>Gustave Doré. <i>Historical cartoons, or, Rough pencillings of the world's history, from the first to the nineteenth century.</i> London: J. C. Hotten, about 1868.</p><p>The French artist, Gustave Doré, achieved great success as a literary illustrator in both France and Great Britain during the 1850s and 1860s.</p><p>In his <i>Historical cartoons</i> he ridicules some of the more absurd fashions in history, including these top-heavy headdresses from the 18th century, 'shooting upwards, right towards the sky.'</p> <p>Max Beerbohm. <i>The poet's corner.</i> London: Heinemann, 1904.</p><p>Max Beerbohm was part of the literary and artistic circles of Edwardian England and developed an early talent for caricature.</p><p>This collection of caricatures from 1904 features famous poets, including that favourite of the Victorians, Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Here he is drawn reading his lengthy poem on the death of his friend to the very distant (and captured) figure of Queen Victoria.</p> <p>Edward Tennyson Reed. <i>Mr Punch's prehistoric peeps.</i> London: Bradbury, Agnew, 1894.</p><p><i>Punch</i> artist E.T. Reed was the first to discover the comic potential of putting cavemen and dinosaurs into modern situations, predating television's <i>Flintstones</i> by more than sixty years. <p>William Heath Robinson. <i>The saintly Hun.</i> London: Duckworth, 1917.</p><p>In wartime, cartoonists generally tend to demonise the enemy. Always an original thinker, during World War I English artist William Heath Robinson took the opposite approach of absurdly exaggerating the opponent's virtues. </p> <p>Ercildoune Frederick Hiscocks. <i>The 'Dooks' visit to the land of the moa.</i> Wellington: Tait and Co., 1901.</p><p>With his large physique and even larger ego, politician Richard Seddon (popularly known as 'King Dick'), was an irresistible target for New Zealand cartoonists during his lengthy period as premier from April 1893 to June 1906. Here Wellington-based artist Fred Hiscocks lampoons the pomp and circumstance that attended the visit of the Duke of Cornwall to New Zealand in June 1901.</p>
View more at the exhibition in Sir George Grey Special Collections, Central City Library, 28 March to 14 July 2012.
Joking aside: 28 March - 14 July 2012, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries
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This exhibition features illustrations from the 18th to 20th century, produced by international and New Zealand artists. The focus is on the development of visual satire, for political or social purposes, and it includes the work of William Hogarth, George Cruickshank, the artists of Punch magazine, and New Zealand cartoonists like David Low and Gordon Minhinnick.

This online exhibition showcases highlights from the exhibition in Sir George Grey Special Collections,Central City Library, 28 March to 14 July 2012


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