Sandtique Rare Prints
Leech's Billy Balsam - "THIS IS THE YOUNG SQUIRE" - Hand-Col'd Litho -1847
HAND-COLORED PRINT by LEECH
This 168 year old hand colored print was rescued from the book "BILLY BALSAM" illustrated by John Leech. It was published by Bradbury, Agnew & Co. of London in 1847.
When he was only three, he was discovered by John Flaxman, who was visiting, seated on his mother's knee, drawing with much gravity. The sculptor admired his sketch, adding, "Do not let him be cramped with lessons in drawing; let his genius follow its own bent; he will astonish the world"—advice which was followed.
He was eighteen when his first designs were published, a quarto of four pages, entitled Etchings and Sketchings by A. Pen, Esq., comic character studies from the London streets. Then he drew some political lithographs, did rough sketches for Bell's Life, produced a popular parody on Mulready's postal envelope, and, on the death of Dickens illustrator Robert Seymour in 1836, unsuccessfully submitted his renderings to illustrate the Pickwick Papers.
In 1840 Leech began his contributions to the magazines with a series of etchings in Bentley's Miscellany, where George Cruikshank had published his plates to Jack Sheppard and Oliver Twist, and was illustrating Guy Fawkes in feebler fashion.
In 1845 Leech illustrated St Giles and St James in Douglas William Jerrold's new Shilling Magazine, with plates more vigorous and accomplished than those in Bentley, but it is in subjects of a somewhat later date, and especially in those lightly etched and meant to be printed with colour, that we see the artist's best powers with the needle and acid.
Among such of his designs are four charming plates to Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (1843), the broadly humorous etchings in the Comic History of England (1847–1848) , and the still finer illustrations to the Comic History of Rome (1852) —which last, particularly in its minor woodcuts, shows some exquisitely graceful touches, as witness the fair faces that rise from the surging water in Cloelia and her Companions Escaping from the Etruscan Camp.
Then in the 1850s come the numerous etchings of sporting scenes, contributed, together with woodcuts, to the Handley Cross novels by Robert Smith Surtees.
It was in 1841 that Leech's connection with Punch began, a connexion which subsisted until his death, and resulted in the production of the best-known and most admirable of his designs. His first contribution appeared in the issue of August 7, a full-page illustration—entitled Foreign Affairs of character studies from the neighbourhood of Leicester Square. His cartoons deal at first mainly with social subjects, and are rough and imperfect in execution, but gradually their method gains in power and their subjects become more distinctly political, and by 1849 the artist is strong enough to produce the splendidly humorous national personification which appears in Disraeli Measuring the British Lion.
In addition to his work for the weekly issue of Punch, Leech contributed largely to the Punch almanacks and pocket-books, from Once a Week between 1859 and 1862, to the Illustrated London News, where some of his largest and best sporting scenes appeared, and to innumerable novels and miscellaneous volumes besides, of which it is only necessary to specify A Little Tour in Ireland (1859). This last piece is noticeable as showing the artist's treatment of pure landscape, though it also contains some of his daintiest figurepieces, like that of the wind-blown girl, standing on the summit of a pedestal, with the swifts darting around her and the breadth of sea beyond.
This hand colored print has an image that is about 6 1/2" x 4 1/2 " on a page that is 9" x 5 1/2". It is in very good condition with some minor age toning. It is suitable for framing and would be an excellent gift.
The print that is being offered is of:
"THIS IS THE YOUNG SQUIRE"
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On Feb-08-13 at 15:24:44 PST, seller added the following information: