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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

(Edward) Linley Sambourne (1844-1910), Cartoonist and illustrator

Cartoonist and illustrator; born 4 January 1844, in London. Studied at Chester Training College 1857–60, and took apprenticeship at marine engine works, Greenwich; began drawing for Punch 1867, appointed ‘cartoon junior’ (second to John Tenniel) 1878 and cartoonist-in-chief 1900, totalling, at death, a 43-year career with the institution; married Marion Herapath 1874; took up photography as an aid to figure drawing early 1880s; book illustrations include drawings for Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies (1885 ed.); exh. Royal Academy 1885–1910; one-man show at Fine Art Society 1893; died 3 August 1910 at 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington (the house has been in the public domain since 1980).

Marion Harry Spielmann on Sambourne:

While under Mark Lemon [at Punch], Mr. Sambourne, as an artist, was still unformed. Under Shirley Brooks was awakened that wonderful inventive faculty that was originally peculiar, in its own aspect, to [Charles] Bennett; under the régime of masterly inactivity – the happy policy of laissez-faire – of Tom Taylor, the talent had burst forth into luxuriance, not to say exuberance; and under Mr F.C. Burnand, we see it schooled and restrained within severer limits – yet, in spite of outside control of which it is to a certain extent impatient, it is instinct with reserve force, strong, pointed, and epigrammatic.

Mr Sambourne’s unlimited and candid use of photography is almost unequalled among artists; but that he makes a proper use of it is obvious from the fact that his drawings never betray that ‘sense of photography’ which one feels in looking at the work of certain painters. [1]

The beauty of line and of silhouette which he sought and obtained, in spite of his intense, almost aggressive individuality, placed him absolutely apart from all the black-and-white artists of the day. [2]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) Spielmann 1893, pp.331, 333.
2) Spielmann 1895a, p.533.

Referencesback to top

Furniss 1901
Furniss, H., Confessions of a Caricaturist, 2 vols, London, 1901.

Furniss 1925
Furniss, H., The Two Pins Club, London, 1925.

Lehmann 1912
Lehmann, R.C., ‘Sambourne, (Edward) Linley (1844–1910)’, rev. S. Nicholson, ODNB, Oxford, 2004.

Lucas 1932
Lucas, E.V., Reading, Writing and Remembering, London, 1932.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

McMaster 2008
McMaster, J., ‘That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy’, British Art Journal, Autumn 2008, pp.62–76.

McMaster 2009
McMaster, J., That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy, Edmonton, Canada, 2009.

Nicholson 1988
Nicholson, S., A Victorian Household, London, 1988.

Ormond 2010
Ormond, L., Linley Sambourne: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist, London, 2010.

Popple 2001
Popple, S., ‘The Happiest Dexterity: Sambourne and the Art of the Political Cartoon’, British Art Journal, vol.3, no.1, 2001, pp.36–42.

Price 1957
Price, R.G.G., A History of Punch, London, 1957.

Sambourne 2003
Linley Sambourne House Guide, [London], 2003.

Spielmann 1893
Spielmann, M.H., ‘Our Graphic Humorists: Linley Sambourne’, Magazine of Art, 1893, pp.329–34.

Spielmann 1895a
Spielmann, M.H., The History of Punch, London, 1895.

Suleman 2001
Suleman, R., ‘Out of the Ordinary: Linley Sambourne and the Amateur Model’, British Art Journal, vol.3, no.1, 2001, pp.28–35.

Tait & Walker 2000
Tait, H., and R. Walker, The Athenaeum Collection, London, 2000.

Carol Blackett-Ord