FIRST WORLD WAR ISSUES OF PUNCH
numerous cartoons, artists including Bernard Partridge, L. Raven Hill, F.H. Townsend, "Fougasse" Kenneth Bird, & H.M. Bateman, 12 biannual vols, 4to. original pictorial cloth, gilt, uneavenly faded, some little wear,
At the turn of the 20th Century Punch, begun in 1841 by Henry Mayhew, was at the height of its readership, providing "humour and satire" to the Victorians.
The New Century brought with it the remains of the Boer War, the Death of Queen Victoria, and a curiously peaceful era which on the death of Edward VII, began to crack with the events in Russia and Europe. Punch reflected this change and with its' coverage of the First World War. From the Propaganda perspective, Punch was in the forefront of the the Prose, Poetry and Illustration of that conflict.
Nothing could have been so strong, uncomfortable and emotive as Bernard Partridge's "Cartoons" during the invasion of Belgium in August 1914. His depiction in the 23rd August issue of a German Officer, with banner in one hand and a smoking gun in the other, standing over a dead Belgian family amidst the ruins of Louvian, or on October 21st "Unconquerable" of the Kaiser to the King of the Belgians amidst the ruins of his country "So, you see - you've lost everything" to which the King replies "Not my soul", were searchlights to the emotion and anger felt by the British. Owen Seaman, the editor during the War, was Knighted in 1914. For these first few months of the War, his magazines patriotism, and sometimes brutal honesty while maintaining the "humour and satire" of its' founder, can only have been the reason. His own poetry along with others including E.V. Knox, whilst never ranked amongst the great war poets, is essentially British, declaimable and Middle Church. The year after the War, 1919, also demonstrates the ability of this great editor, to reflectively steer Punch through the crisis of the Peace of Versailles, the Demobilization, Strikes and Financial Crises. He became a Baronet in 1932 and was succeeded as editor by E.V. Knox, "Evoe" who also contributed to these Wartime issues. ENGLAND, in this great fight to which you go
Because, where Honour calls you, go you must, Be glad, whatever comes, at least to know
You have your quarrel just.
Peace was your care; before the nations' bar
Her cause you pleaded and her ends you sought; But not for her sake, being what you are,
Could you be bribed and bought.
Others may spurn the pledge of land to land,
May with the brute sword stain a gallant past;
But by the seal to which you set your hand,
Thank God, you still stand fast!
Forth, then, to front that peril of the deep
With smiling lips and in your eyes the light, Steadfast and confident, of those who keep
Their storied 'scutcheon bright.
And we, whose burden is to watch and wait,—
High-hearted ever, strong in faith and prayer,— We ask what offering we may consecrate,
What humble service share.
To steel our souls against the lust of ease;
To bear in silence though our hearts may bleed; To spend ourselves, and never count the cost,
For others' greater need;—
To go our quiet ways, subdued and sane;
To hush all vulgar clamour of the street; With level calm to face alike the strain
Of triumph or defeat;
This be our part, for so we serve you best,
So best confirm their prowess and their pride,
Your warrior sons, to whom in this high test
Our fortunes we confide. By Owen Seaman August 12, 1914
Stock ref: 13549