Archive for the ‘tom browne’ Category

Scarf cartoon warning to Isadora Duncan

December 16, 2014
Tom Browne cartoon warning to Isadora Duncan

The fate of the cyclist in this Tom Browne cartoon strip from 1904 should have been a warning to Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan was a popular dancer from California who lived in Europe in the jazz age of the 1920s. She met an untimely death at the age of 50 when travelling in a car as a passenger – her long scarf became entangled in one of the rear wheels and broke her neck.

That happened on14 September  1927, so this three-frame Tom Browne cartoon from 1904 predates the accident by 23 years.

The cartoon was carried in Cassell’s Penny magazine with the three frames broken up by jokes. Cycling was still a relatively new sport – notice there is no sign of any brakes on the bike.

Like many publishers, Cassells produced fiction magazines alongside its books. As well as the Penny Magazine, it published Chums and the upmarket monthly Cassell’s Magazine.

The Penny Magazine lasted until the mid-1920s, when it was taken over by T.P. O’Connor, a prominent journalist and Irish nationalist politician who sat as a  British MP, to become T.P.’s and Cassell’s Weekly. O’Connor is one of two journalists marked by a bust in Fleet Street, the other being Edgar Wallace.

 

Tom Browne: every dot counts

April 21, 2014
browne_golferfull500

RULES AND ETIQUETTE OF GOLF: A ball lying in the fork of a tree must be played, or the player will lose a stroke – Tom Browne cartoon for the Tatler

Tom Browne was one of the best black and white artists working the the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. He went out to work at the age of 11 as an errand boy in Nottingham and became apprentice to a lithographic printer where he began to do illustration jobs on the side.

At the age of 21, he moved to Fleet Street and established his reputation with the Weary Willie and Tired Tim cartoon for Harmsworth’s Illustrated Chips from May 1896. His fat and thin tramps carried on into the 1950s (in the hands of other illustrators) and no doubt had a hand in triggering later generations of tramp pairings, such as Laurel & Hardy (first film together in 1921), Samuel Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot (1953) and television’s Bootsie and Snudge (1963).

It’s the details in Browne’s work that count and took him out of cheap comics into the society weeklies such as Punch and Tatler and made him such a hit in the US, in papers such as the New York Times. The Tatler cartoon here is a classic example.

Consider the faces on the dynamic duo hauling up the tubby golfer: just a couple of dots for eyes and a few lines for the features. Yet, look closely and you can immediately tell which way they are looking – one at the golfer and the other at the reader.

Truly, every dot counts.

Tom Browne drawing detail

Tom Browne’s drawing show incredible attention to detail; he could do so much with so little

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design