To paraphrase the introductory paragraph on the website: Punch, the magazine of humour and satire with an international reputation for its irreverent take on the world, was started in 1841 and lasted until 2002. It was a very British institution which gave us the cartoon as we know it today. Its political cartoons swayed governments while its social cartoons captured life in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was set up with a capital of £25 and was not an instant success, although eventually it enjoyed more than 100 years of popularity before beginning to decline in the 1980s. It closed down in 1992 but was relaunched in 1996 by Harrods proprietor, Mohamed Al Fayed, only to close again finally in 2002, leaving a legacy of over 160 years of humour and wit unsurpassed in publishing history.
Punch was the only magazine that my husband would read, and when it first closed down it was mourned by both of us. When it was relaunched it had changed its format and style and neither of us enjoyed it any longer, but felt that we had failed to move forward with it.
I am currently giving houseroom to seven bound volumes dating from 1884 to 1890, and several special issues and almanacks. As none of my sons seems to be interested in them, I may be lucky enough to keep them. Cartoon style has changed enormously in all these years - some of the old captions for instance are very long-winded, and the drawing tends to be much more elaborate and detailed. I think attention spans were longer in those days!
Oh yes, and a footnote which might interest Lee .....
The full name of Du Maurier, who drew the cartoon "True Humility" about the curate's egg which was excellent in parts, was George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier. His son was the actor Sir Gerald du Maurier, and his granddaughter Daphne du Maurier wrote best-selling novels. I had never associated the three names until yesterday.
[The cartoons are Punch copyright, and are reproduced here with the kind permission of Punch Ltd ]