Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/464

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
362
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

giraffe, whilst her sister beauty is sensibly inconvenienced by a lock of hair which has strayed into her eye, a favourite device, by the way, of the artist. This book, now scarce (in the illustration of which he was assisted by Alfred Crowquill), is adorned with a portrait on steel, after a painting by Childe, in which the author is presented to us in a white waistcoat and dress coat, with a pen in his hand, leading us to the inference that his clumsily constructed novels (one of which—"Valentine Vox," thanks perhaps to the illustrator, Onwhyn—still holds its ground) were written in evening costume.

But notwithstanding these failures, Kenny Meadows has happily left behind him work of a very much better kind. His Christmas pictures in particular are impressed with the kindly, genial humour which characterized the man; the "Illuminated Magazine," a scarce and valuable work, contains sixty-three very fine specimens of his pencillings, including the illustrations to his friend Douglas Jerrold's "Chronicles of Clovernook," admirable in every respect, probably the finest designs he ever executed. The wood engravings in this charming serial have probably never been surpassed; we seldom see woodcuts in these days which equal the splendid workmanship of E. Landells.[1] After the third volume, the "Illuminated Magazine" passed into other hands, and although Kenny Meadows continued its mainstay for a time, the rest of the excellent artists left, and the literary matter visibly declined.

To the famous "Gallery of Comicalities" Kenny Meadows contributed Sketches from Lavater and Phisogs of the Traders of London. During the last decade of his life his services in the cause of illustrative art were rewarded and recognised by a pension from the Civil List of £80 per annum. Like George

  1. So great was the scarcity of good engravers in 1880, that in September of that year the proprietors of the Graphic newspaper acknowledged the difficulty they experienced in obtaining the assistance of high-class engravers, and stated their intention to found a school of engraving on wood. Specimens of a new style of illustration have lately come from America, which appear in illustrated serials; some are good, but the majority, notwithstanding the song of praise with which they were first received, are nothing less than abominable.