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This book and its indices are essential reading for all of those interested in the leading personalities of the Victorian and Edwardian Law and a must for all collectors of Vanity Fair caricatures.
At the back of the book there is the most comprehensive index ever listing subjects portrayed in Vanity Fair involved with the law, many of whom have only been previously indexed as politicians. Furthermore, for ease of reference, all of these have been cross indexed by caption.
Vanity Fair was a weekly magazine published between 1868 and 1914 “by those in the know” for “those in authority” and was the brainchild of Thomas Gibson Bowles. The caricatures, the first one of which appeared in the thirteenth issue on the 30th January 1869, transformed what was then a struggling magazine into perhaps the most influential magazine ever produced in the English language. These illustrations are often incorrectly referred to as “SPY caricatures” which is not surprising as SPY, (which was the nom de crayon of Sir Leslie Ward 1851-1922), contributed some 1325 of the total of 2500 caricatures published in Vanity Fair.
In the original magazine, a short, descriptive biography on the subject of the caricature was printed on the opposite page. Each caricature and biography is now preceded by a meticulously researched factual biography, giving personal, legal and other relevant facts. This is supplemented by an interesting profile of the subject including anecdotes and listing some of the most important and interesting cases, with citations, in which he was involved.
Vanity Fair caricatures have been avidly collected since their inception, some 120 years ago. So great was the public demand for them, that within weeks of the first two caricatures appearing, (of Disraeli and Gladstone respectively) Bowles had to arrange reprints of them for separate sale. Traditionally the legal subjects have been the most sought after and are now avidly collected worldwide.