Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/374

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284
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

made the slightest impression in the house, and we may fairly predict he never will." The article is illustrated by a remarkable semi-caricature likeness of the late Lord Beaconsfield, then in his thirty-second year, which, although unsigned and altogether different from his well-known style, we can assign to no other hand than that of John Leech. We found our opinion on the fact that the previous portrait is by him; that none but his etchings appear in the latter portion of the book; and because the bird represented following the footsteps and mimicking the walk of the young statesman, is own brother to the celebrated Jackdaw of Rheims immortalized by Thomas Ingoldsby. So remarkable is the likeness, that the shadow of D'Israeli's follower and that of Saint "Jem Crow" of the Legends are identical.

Artistic Position Secured.In 1840 some of John Leech's sketches were brought to the notice of the Rev Thomas Harris Barham, which led to his engagement on the pages of "Bentley's Miscellany," from which moment his artistic position was secured. His first illustration was The Black Mousquetaire. Barham in describing the scene, regretted, oddly enough, that he had neither the pencil of Fuseli or Sir Joshua Reynolds at command, or had himself taken lessons in drawing:—

  "Had I done so, instead
  Of the lines you have read,
I'd have given you a sketch shou'd have filled you with dread!
François Xavier Auguste squatting up in his bed,
  His hands widely spread,
  His complexion like lead,
Ev'ry hair that he had standing up on his head,
As when, Agnes des Moulins first catching his view,
Now right, and now left, rapid glances he threw,
Then shriek'd with a wild and unearthly halloo,
  Mon Dieu! v'là deux!!
  By the Pope there are two!!!"

Leech continued on the pictorial staff of "Bentley's Miscellany" ten years; his etchings therein commence with vol. viii. (1840) and (practically) end with vol. xxv., 1849).[1] Altogether he contributed to this sterling periodical some one hundred and forty etchings,

  1. He subsequently returned to it for a short time only.