Friday, March 14, 2008

Snark and Punch

The Pre-Raphaelites weren't the only ones who enjoyed poking fun through cartoons. The general Victorian media also had a heyday with these eclectic bohemian emo artists. The above artwork of Dante Rossetti hosting a gathering in his back yard is definitely one of my favorites...this particular version has been captioned with the names of all the people pictured.

The periodical Punch was especially guilty of posting mocking parody art of the Pre-Raphaelites and their ideals.

Here we see an image entitled The Two Ideals, showing a seated Victorian woman, corsetted, curvy, with doll-like features. She was the standard epitome of beauty. Standing above her, thin and uncorsetted, wearing a loose gown with her hair a frizzed ball, is a rather unflattering caricature of Jane Morris, standing in as the Pre-Raphaelite idea of a Stunner.
A parody of Millias' Mariana.
A parody of Millias' Sir Umbras at the Ford

Punch even ran a near epic length illustrated poem with the sole purpose of mocking the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic. One section is above, to view all sections, visit here.


Margaret said...

These are great! I love the cartoon of Millais' Mariana--it's amazing how changing the position of her hands makes the entire picture comedic.

Grace said...

Thanks :)

Alex J. Taylor said...

Oh my goodness! The George du Maurier "Legend of Camelot" poem, and accompanying illustrations, made my day. It's been a very long while since I last saw anything quite so… silly!

It just tickles me no end to see someone poking such delightful fun at something which, to me, has always seemed to reside in a kind of ivory tower of austere loveliness and elegance. Dearly though I love the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and all things Morrisian, I've never been able to see much humour in them. Thanks for proving me wrong. :-)

I only wish I could make out the tiny words at the bottom of pages 1 and 4 – I could very well be wrong about this, but they appear to form a parody of the interminably long Kelmscott Press colophons (i.e. "Here ends The Story of the Glittering Plain, being called also The Land of Living Men, made by William Morris and ornamented with twenty-three pictures by Walter Crane, printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, executed at the Doves Bindery, Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London; on the 13th of January 1894," etc.)

Anyways, thanks for a great post, and keep up the good work!

Grace said...

Oh my gosh, Alex...great catch on the small lettering at the base of each page! I bet that *is* what it's a parody of, and I never would have caught it. (chuckle) Now I wish we had larger images as well :)

Alex J. Taylor said...

Well, I don't have anything fancy like Photoshop (with which one could likely do much better clean-up work on something like this), but here's what I was able to come up with after tinkering about with the images in iPhoto for a few minutes:

"Printed by William M–bury[?], of No. 12, Upper [Wayburn?] Place, in the Parish of St. P–[?], in the County of Middlesex, and Frederick [Mullers?] M–[?], of No. 11, B–[?] Street, in the Parish of Whitefriars, City of London, Printers, at their Office in [Longhurst?] Street, in the Parish of [Kingsfears?], City of London, and published by them at No. 5b, Fleet Street, in the Parish of St. S–[?] ––[?] in London—Saturday, March 3, 18–?"

So it is a continuation of the parody, rather than just the usual 'fine print!' I especially like how the second fellow, "Frederick," appears to have two surnames (à la Edward Coley Burne-Jones).

Grace said...

Oh how delightful! And hilarious :)

Aurora said...

And still another marvelous post! My favorite is definitely the first drawing you posted...and is it just me, or does it remind you a bit of Hirschfeld's work?

Grace said...

It does indeed, Aurora!