The_Political_Drama_110_page

In their second article for The Print Shop Window, Mike and Daphne Tregear discuss the troubled relationship between the printseller and publisher G.S. Tregear and the caricaturist Charles Jameson Grant. 

In July 1835 Grant published No. 110 in ʻThe Political Dramaʼ series (above). This series had started in 1833 and wasThe_Political_Drama_110_quote published until 1836, running to 131 weekly sheets. The print is divided into two vertical panels. The right hand panel (detail, right) lampoons King Louis Philippe as a ʻRotten Eggʼ and he is shown as a Humpty Dumpty figure sitting on a wall. In the background is a hill on which a guillotine has been erected and a building named as The Bastile. Below there are three columns of satirical prose and below that a sentence which reads:

C. J. G. takes opportunity of informing the inhabitants of Paris, and its vicinity, that he has no connexion in his capacity as artist, with one Gabriel Shire Tregear, publisher, of London, for some time past, and solemnly prays he may never again.

He was informing the inhabitants of Paris of this rift within the context of the larger panel; he was also, of course, informing the whole of the print readership. What is clear from this statement is that Grant put a great distance between himself as the creator of well-known and widely distributed images, and Tregear, with whom he been a long-time collaborator.

The working relationship between Tregear and Grant can be illustrated by the fact that in 1830 Tregear published at least two prints which are identified as being by Grant. These are ʻAll A Gog at Guildhallʼ and ʻFrench Mode of Proceeding Ex Officioʼ. In 1831 this number rose to 13 prints, in 1832 to 17 prints and in 1833 there were 7 prints. In addition, the authors have found five which are undated, but are clearly by Grant. The prints vary in content from the classic political commentary prints of the time focussing on the reform acts, through to the simply frivolous and entertaining. Whether the prints are the result of collaboration between caricaturist and publisher as, for example, ʻThe Robin Hood Family of Archersʼ, where there is a joint claim to authorship, or merely a commercial transaction with Tregear specifying the print’s content, is not clear.

Grant's_Oddities_1

Grant's_Oddities_panelWhat is certain, however, is that Grant did value his association with Tregear and took pains to both publish this association and exploit it – at least for a period of their relationship. Grant, along with a number of other satirists of the period, finds the claims by Morrison for his vegetable pills a pure absurdity. Both Grant’s ʻOddities No. 1ʼ (left) and Grantʼs ʻOddities No. 8ʼ, published by Kendrick, poke fun at the potential effects of vegetable pills. On print No. 1 Grant used the opportunity to claim to be ʻAuthor of Tregearʼs Flights of Humour &c &cʼ. The claim is placed prominently in the panel [*] in the top right hand corner of the print (it is more clearly seen on the back and white copy of this print in the Lewis Walpole Library).

Tregear’s ʻFlights of Humourʼ was the longest series both in terms of time and number which he published. They are largely undated, although sporadically they are, and the authors have been able to trace the series, although not all of the titles, from 1 to 95. And again, not all of the prints are signed by Grant. Tregear and, later, Tregear and Lewis, were not always the best at quality control in terms of numbering, so it is possible that there are unused numbers. The earliest are Nos. 2 and 3 from 1830, No.10 in 1831, No.18 in 1832, Nos. 27, 30, 32, and 33 in 1833, No. 37 in 1834, No. 50 in 1835, Nos. 52 and 53 in 1836 and No. 60 in 1839.

If the rift in the relationship between Grant and Tregear as advertised by Grant on ʻThe Political Drama No. 110ʼ is as final and abrupt as Grant implies, then it is unlikely that Grant can be the author of the whole series. Possibly, he provided material up to No. 50 and thereafter a new author or authors were found to continue the series. Or, that the split between the two men was not final, and they did reform their association. However the authors have not seen any evidence that the relationship did revive.

In conclusion, it is of interest to note that the disagreement between the two men did lodge in the public consciousness. While responding to an article about Cleave in ʻNotes and Queriesʼ in February 1870, a correspondent, Mr. Lamb, makes the following remark “Earlier than any of the above dates, namely, in 1833, I find Mr. Grant’s name to a coloured caricature published by G. S. Tregear, ʻThe Robin Hood Family, or Archers of 1833’, and, I believe Mr. Tregear published many coloured caricatures for him. They quarrelled somehow, and I recollect of a very personal correspondence between them”. How do we get to a better understanding?


Acknowledgement

The authors are grateful for the kind permission of the Working Class Movement Library, Salford, for permission to reproduce images of ʻThe Political Drama No. 110ʼ.

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