Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Shillings Worth of PHIZ

“’ Phiz’ drew in later years for Judy and other comic papers, and it is simple justice to say that his designs are characterized by an utter absence of comic power," said Graham Everitt, in English Caricaturists (1893.) "Gradually this great and graceful artist dropped so far behind in the race of life that he yielded latterly to proposals to illustrate boys' literature of a very inferior class.”

Phiz (Hablot Knight Brown) actually worked for the penny dreadfuls much earlier; for Lloyd's Weekly Miscellany in 1851, the Parlour Journal in 1859, including a tale entitled Silent Death, or The Light on the Water. In the 1860's he illustrated serials by James Malcolm Rymer, author of Varney the Vampire, for the London Miscellany. Both Phiz and another Judy artist John Proctor had illustrated sensational stories in the London Journal. He also worked for Beeton's Boys Own Magazine, the Empire, the Welcome Guest, Bow Bells, the Young Englishman’s Journal, the Boys of England and the Boys Standard. Phiz illustrated numerous works for penny dreadful publisher John Dicks including The New Mysteries of London. Not a very ‘gradual’ decline, in my opinion.

Victorian snobbery about penny parts work aside, ‘Phiz’ Judy work was quite nicely drawn, with the wind blowing breezily through the panels.

In his later days Phiz wrote a letter to his son, Dr. Browne, ending his copy with this anguished cry: "Oh! I'm aweary, I'm aweary! of this illustration business."

No comments:

Post a Comment