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Darvill's Rare Prints is pleased to offer a huge selection of original
John Leech etchings from various publications.

The original, hand-coloured etchings featured below are from:

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour

Written by Robert Smith Surtees
Illustrated by John Leech

Published in London by Bradbury and Evans
— 1853—

Sheet size is approximately 5.675 x 8.5 inches.
Please click on the images below for an enlarged view.

We have many more prints by Leech...
please see the Satire/Humor page by clicking here.

   

A bit about
John Leech
:


Artist and Illustrator.

He was born in London on August 23, 1817, the son of a vintner and showed a remarkable aptitude for drawing from an early age.

After being educated at Charterhouse and then entering St. Bartholemew's Hospital to study medicine, Leech abandoned it for the career of an artist. At Charterhouse he had become a friend of W.M. Thackeray (q.v.) and at St. Bartholemew's he had made the acquaintance of Albert Smith and Percival Leigh, the writers, all of whom were to further him in his profession.

He produced his first book Etchings and Sketchings, caricatures of Londoners, in 1835 and followed this with a series of satirical and political lithographs. Leech was taught to draw on the wood by Orrin Smith and it was in this field of black and white work that he was to make his name.

His humour was like his talent, gentle, warm-hearted and positive, his world, the ups and downs of middle class life, the sports of the squirearchy, and the peccadilloes of army officers and undergraduates.

He became really established in 1840 when he joined the staff of Bentley's Miscellany, contributing over one hundred and forty etchings to the magazine. In 1841 he contributed his first block to the newly-established satirical journal Punch; Leech's art was ripe for this type of pictorial satire and within a few months he had made it his own, establishing a convention of social humour that was to last until the 1920s.

From 1843, Leech shared the cartoons with Tenniel, completing no less than seven hundred and twenty before 1864. But his strength was in the drawings of the hunting field and London fashion, epitomised in the characters of Tom Noddy and Mr. Briggs. Extravagantly praised by Ruskin, Leech's often careless but never crude drawings have survived in charm and humour to give us a refreshing glimpse of mid-Victorian society.

He died after a short illness in 1864.

(from The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800-1914 by Simon Houfe)

Mr. Sponge is introduced to
Mr. Sponge is introduced to "Ercles"
$25
Hercules 'takes' a Draper's Shop
Hercules 'takes' a Draper's Shop
$25
Mr. Sponge at Jawleyford Court
Mr. Sponge at Jawleyford Court
$20
One of Multum in Parvo's 'going' days
One of Multum-in-Parvo's 'going' days
$35
Sudden appearance of Mr. Sponge at Farmer Springwheat's-Horror of Lord Scamperdale
Sudden appearance of Mr. Sponge at Farmer Springwheat's—Horror of Lord Scamperdale
$25
Mr. Sponge completely scatters his Lordship
Mr. Sponge completely scatters his Lordship
Mr. Bragg's Equestrian Portrait
Mr. Bragg's Equestrian Portrait
$35
A Day with Puffington's Hounds
A Day with Puffington's Hounds
$35
Hunting the Hounds
Hunting the Hounds
$25
Mr. Sponge arrives at Sir 'Arry's
Mr. Sponge arrives at Sir 'Arry's
$30
Mr. Jogglebury Crowdey with his dog and his gun
Mr. Jogglebury Crowdey
with his dog and his gun
$30
Lucy Glitters showing the way
Lucy Glitters showing the way
$35
Mr. Sponge declares himself
Mr. Sponge declares himself
$35
 

More John Leech etchings on the Humor and Satire page