Friday, July 23, 2010

Harry Maguire (1832-1916)

Henry Carlton (or Calton) Maguire was, along with Robert Prowse senior, the most indefatigable illustrator of penny dreadful and boys story papers of the eighteen sixties, seventies and eighties. “Harry” Maguire led a double-life, one as a respectable illustrator of music sheets (c.1860-1885), and one as a provider of thrilling woodcuts for penny dreadful and boys’ story papers.

According to his baptismal certificate Maguire was born on 24 July1832 (He seems to have shaved a few years off his age in various census reports) in Marleybone, Middlesex, London. Harry was the son of Henry Calton Maguire (1790-1854) a member of a well known Irish family of painters, etchers and lithographers working in London, and Eliza Bussman. The father, born in Dublin, produced lithographs for sheet music and was also a well-known water-colourist and book illustrator. After the death of the elder Maguire, Harry junior continued in the sheet music business producing lithographs for the songs of Arthur Lloyd, the Great Vance, Nellie Power and Harry Rickards. Maguire married Catherine Laura Pope in January 1860. She died in March 1889 without having borne him any children.

Harry Maguire sidelined drawing woodcut illustrations for the penny dreadful trade. His earliest known penny dreadful employer was the Newsagent’s Publishing Company at 147 Fleet-street. Maguire illustrated Vane Ireton St. John’s The Wild Boys of London; or, the Children of the Night, published on July 17 1864, The Work Girls of London; their Trials and Temptations in 1865, and The Boy Pirate; or, Life on the Ocean a Novel, also in 1865. In October 1867 he illustrated The Boy Detective; or, the Crimes of London.

In 1867 Maguire was employed by William Emmett Lawrence illustrating serials in the Young Englishman’s Journal which began on 13 April 1867. For the first seven issues the Young Englishman’s Journal was published by John Millbank Crisp of Temple Publishing Company, 45, Essex Street, Strand. Temple had been an early penny dreadful rival of the NPC. The first serial to feature Maguire’s woodcuts in the Young Englishman’s Journal was Willie Gray; or, the Wreck of the Polar Star. In number 8 appeared George Emmett’s famous serial Boys of Bircham School, partially illustrated by Maguire. His prolific woodcuts were used as illustrations to serials by Captain Mayne Reid, Charles Stevens, Vane Ireton St. John, Percy Bolingbroke St. John, and William Stephens Hayward. Henry Carlton Maguire became a member of the Society of Arts in 1869 while living at Brook villa, Earlsbrook-road, Redhill. According to one relative Henry also gave elocution lessons to actors and taught fencing to military officers.

In 1870 Charles Stevens Alone in the Pirate’s Lair was issued in penny parts. Pirate’s Lair was reprinted from The Boys of England, where it had been the opening serial for the first issue on 27 November 1866. Frank Jay says that most were illustrated by “an artist named Hebblethwaite, who could draw as well with his left hand as with his right,” but the 1870 parts work was illustrated by Harry Maguire.

The Young Englishman’s Journal was incorporated into The Sons of Britannia on 14 Mar 1870. Maguire continued drawing the cover serials and was so popular that his name was used in advertising material for the various Emmett story papers and penny parts. The 1871 census listed Maguire under the name Henry Maguire. He was described as an artist living in Islington with his wife Catherine (born in 1835), a nephew and a niece. In this census Annie Savory, who Harry was later to live with in a common-law situation, is listed as "artist's wife" and is living with daughter Kate and a servant.

Maguire was the most frequent contributor of illustrations for The Sons of Britannia. He seems to have been a favorite with George Emmett and illustrated all of his employers’ titles including Tom Wildrake and the famous Shot & Shell series. The Sons of Britannia’s last number was No. 394 on September 15, 1877 and the paper was to have been incorporated with The Champion Journal, which I have not been able to trace. Maguire also contributed to The Boys’ Standard, published by William Lucas then Charles Fox, which ran from 6 November 1875 to 7 March 1881. Its only speculation but I think in the eighties Maguire may have contributed full-page woodcuts for Charles Fox penny dreadfuls of Spring-Heeled Jack, Cartouche, and Sweeney Todd. The style is quite different from his early work, and unsigned, but there are a few resemblances to his sixties and seventies work.

Harry Maguire is recorded in the 1881 census under the name Henry Carlton, living at 13 Avenue Road, Wanstead, Essex, with Annie Savory and the following children; Kate (born 1870) Annie (born 1872) Henry (born 1874) Jenny (born 1877) Lody (born 1879) and Sarah (born 1881.) All the children were registered with the surname Carlton. Harry Maguire is described as an "artist and draughtsman (with "E & M" in brackets.) He married Annie Savory, with whom he had had a long-standing relationship, in July 1889 - i.e. after she had borne him 9 children. The other children were Mabel and Emily - presumably there was another who died in infancy.

By the time of the 1891 census Maguire is listed as married to Annie, aged 42, also born in Marleybone. Their home was at 1 Zetland Villas, Lewisham, and was described as a “lithographic artist.” The couple had seven children: Harry, born in 1874 in Tottenham, described as an artist’s pupil, Kate (born 1870, Islington), Annie (born 1872, Islington), Jane (born 1877, Brighton), Lody(?) (born 1880, Brighton), Mabel (born 1882, Leytonstone) and Emily (born 1883, Leytonstone).

The last work by Harry Maguire that I could find was the school story The Lambs of Littlecote by his old mate E Harcourt Burrage. The Lambs of Littlecote was published by the Aldine Publishing Company in 1894, and must have been one of the last penny dreadfuls published with wood engravings. By 1895 the photo process engraving sent the woodcut the way of the dinosaur. Maguire supplied the first 13 illustrations before the job was taken over by Robert Prowse junior.

In 1901 he was recorded as Henry C. Maguire, watercolour artist. He was a widow now and resided at 141 Bensham Lane with his son Henry Terrence, a photo process etcher, and a daughter, Mabel. By 1911 Harry was living with his son’s family at 1 Preston Road, Upper Norwood. Henry is now called Harry Carlton Maguire, and described as an artist. His son, now known as Harry T., was a process engraver. He and his wife Lilly had two daughters, Nora and Kathleen. Harry J.’s sister Annie Josephine, also a process engraver, shared the house with the couple.

Henry Carlton (or Calton) Maguire died April 1916, at Homelands, Park Place, Eltham, Lewisham. He was buried on 17 April 1916 at Norwood Cemetery.

*Thanks to Robert Kirkpatrick for his contribution of census material.

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