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"The Railway Interest" Vanity Fair caricature with mutton-chops, c1875.

by Carlo Pellegrini (Ape)

Original Vanity Fair lithograph "The Railway Interest" from a watercolour caricature of Sir Edward William Watkin, M.P. for Statesmen. No. CCXVI (216) on November 6 1875.
The accompanying text includes "The son of a Manchester merchant, Edward Watkin passed his childhood and youth in the scenes likely to make a sharp man of business. At ten he was already set to work, and during the intervals he could spare from his father's counting-house, he exhibited himself as an advocate for Mechanics' Institutes, Peoples' Parks, Saturday Half-holidays, Free-trade, and other doctrines then new. All these things he advocated by forming societies, by joining leagues, and by helping to found the Manchester Examiner; and now having had his attention called to railways as to a new field well suited to a keen-witted young man, he got made secretary to the Trent Valley Railway." (He managed several, even in Canada, and went on to become Chairman of Railways. He was made an English and Belgian Knight and a High Sheriff as a proper recognition of himself and of the Railway interest.) "His statesmanship is of the commercial order, his liberalism of the economical kind. He is now rich enough to require to be well paid for the work he does; he has an adequate idea of his own value; and his wife possesses some imposing diamonds and her husband's fidelity."

Vanity Fair was a weekly magazine of social comment, published in London from 1868 to 1914. With eight to ten pages each issue, Vanity Fair magazine's popularity was guaranteed with the inclusion of an amusing caricature, lithographed from a watercolour, parodying any newsworthy personage. Over the years of publication it became a mark of honour to be the 'victim' of one of the magazine's caricaturists. The publisher accompanied each with a witty text, written under his nickname of 'Jehu Junior' (after the biblical prophet who effected the downfall of his enemies). He considered the caricatures made grim faces more grim, grotesque figures more grotesque, and dull people duller by the genius of ‘Ape’" (Carlo Pellegrini, 1839-1889). It was the first time lithography had been used for caricatures. They were printed by the eminent lithographer, Vincent Brooks (1814-1885).

Page size 355 x 230 (14 x 9 inches). In good condition except for a little soiling in the margins, and Indian ink "97" at top right and "Sir E.W. Watkin" at lower right.

Stock Number: apVF216Price: $80.00