The golden age of British caricatures is considered by many to be from 1780 to 1820, with James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and Isaac Cruikshank leading the way at the end of the eighteenth century.  Their robust satirical works on the Political and Royal figures of the day, and their observations on everyday life, were eagerly awaited and were put on show in the window displays of print shops and booksellers, which attracted crowds of purchasers as well as those who could not afford to buy but came to view.  Other well known caricaturists during this period, and just afterwards, included George Cruikshank (Isaac’s son), Robert Dighton and his son Richard.

CH or its former pupils featured in caricatures drawn by Thomas Rowlandson, Isaac Cruikshank, George Cruikshank and Richard Dighton, as well as by other respected caricaturists.

The satirical and humorous magazine Punch was first published in 1841, and it caught the mood of the day with its altogether gentler and more refined humour. It attracted many of the leading comic writers and artists, and became a British institution.

The original meaning of the word “cartoon” was a preliminary drawing for a work of art, humorous drawings being called “caricatures”.  Punch is credited with inventing the modern meaning of the word “cartoon” when, in July 1843, it published a satirical drawing by John Leech which he labelled “Cartoon No 1”.  The word stuck as a label, initially for satirical drawings and then for any humorous drawing.

Punch was fascinated by the CH uniform, and cartoons which ridiculed it appeared regularly in its columns, the first such cartoon appearing in 1845.  

 Those connected with CH and its former pupils also had their share of appearances in the well known British society magazine, Vanity Fair, which ran from 1868 to 1914.

The image on the left is of the booklet, published in the CH Heritage Series, titled Cartoons.  It celebrates CH’s contribution to early British graphic satire, and has 140 illustrations, including three sets of cartoons drawn by pupils and staff.