Friday, February 6, 2009

A Chat with Alfred Bryan

In 1881, when Alfred Bryan (1852-1899) was working for the comic journal Moonshine, a “familiar” was quoted in the Review of Reviews as saying:

“A. B’s method is not that of other men, for when surveying the faces which supply him with subjects, he gives no outward or visible signs of his scheme; he makes no notes at the time. The results of his observations are committed to wood or paper, as the case may be, when he gets home. Mr. Bryan is not a trained artist -- I suppose he never received a drawing lesson in his life; but after looking at his achievements for the last twenty years, and knowing that some of these have been performed under the most trying conditions, I am persuaded that A. B. can do more good work in his particular line and in a given time than any man of his generation. He is as modest, too, as he is gifted.”

Bryan’s celebrity caricatures were legion, and included Charles Dickens, Gilbert and Sullivan, George Augustus Sala and Buffalo Bill. For Judy, The London Figaro, Moonshine and the Entr’acte Bryan’s keen eye caught the essence of politicians, literary men, comic singers and the melodramatic actors and actresses of the London Stage.

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