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Vanity Fair Spy Cartoons

We have a large stock of original antique Vanity Fair "Spy" cartoons & caricatures by artists including "Spy" (Leslie Ward), and "Ape" (Carlo Pellegrini).  Vanity Fair was a weekly magazine published in London, founded & edited by Thomas Gibson Bowles. His aim was to expose to contemporary vanities of Victorian society. From 1868 to 1914, full page colour lithographs appeared in most weekly issues, frequently lampooning or lauding their subjects which included artists, athletes, royalty, politicians, scientists, authors, actors, sportsmen, lawyers, diplomats, soldiers, clergy, scholars & other celebrities of the day - mostly British, but also many other internationally significant personalities. Over 2,300 of these colour cartoons were printed, and they are considered the chief cultural legacy of the magazine, forming a pictorial record of many of the most significant public figures of the period. They are renowned throughout the world and highly collectible and recognisable. Famous artists contributed to Vanity Fair, typically under pen names. The best remembered today is Leslie Ward (1851-1922), who signed his works as "Spy", and whose caricatures account for well over half of those featured in Vanity Fair. So famous have these fabulous prints become, Vanity Fair caricatures today often are referred to simply as "Spy Cartoons". 'Spy', his nom de crayon, referred to his frequently used method of observing his victims secretly or from a distance for example at the racecourse, in the law courts, in church, in the university lecture theatre, or in the lobby of the Houses of Parliament. Whether drawn by Ward himself or another of the Vanity Fair artists, including Carlo Pellegrini, aka 'Singe' and 'Ape' (whose work is regarded by many as technically and artistically superior), Guth, Lib, "T" et al, the caricatures from this exceptional and unique publication have become prized collectibles. They epitomise Victorian society during the heyday of the British Empire.