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Matthew Webb

Matthew Webb "Swam the Channel". Vanity Fair caricature, c1875

by Carlo Pellegrini (Ape)

Vanity Fair lithograph. Caricature by Carlo Pellegrinni (Ape). Men of the Day. No.112, Matthew Webb.

"At twelve he was already a boy in the Mersey training frigate Conway. ...he passed a mate's examination with credit and was made the captain of a large coasting vessel trading to Ireland, as which he received exceptionally high pay on account of the danger of the service. Of an adventurous and restless disposition, he had already been sailorising in many parts of the world, and in all had shewn himself a good seaman and a man of nerve and courage. ...when in a mail steamer coming from America, he jumped overboard in half a gale of wind after a man who had fallen in to the sea, took off his clothes under the water, and was only picked up after half an hour's swimming." "Full-blooded, with a few and ready circulation, which with his native modesty causes him to blush much involuntarily, powerfully built, with a tremendous chest and endowed beyond other men with carelessness of cold, he was well fitted to undertake any task in the water." He swam twenty miles in the Thames, and then half the distance between Dover and Calais, and on the 25th August swam the full width of the Channel.

Chromolithograph for Vanity Fair, a weekly magazine of social comment, published in London from 1868 to 1914. With eight to ten pages each issue, it included a caricature of a 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, Thomas Gibson Bowles (who was also the editor and major contributing journalist) accompanied each caricature lithograph with a witty text, written under one of his pseudonyms 'Jehu Junior' (after the biblical prophet who effected the downfall of his enemies).Printed by the eminent lithographer, Vincent Brooks (1814-1885), it was the first time lithography had been used for caricatures.

Vanity Fair prints varied slightly in size over the years. This page is 360 x 230mm (14.1/8 x 9 inches). Image measures 310 x 185mm (12.1/4 x 7.1/4 inches) 

Stock Number: apVF112Price: $150.00