“Two Aspects of Triumph”

Posted by on September 8th, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Franks Reynolds is the artist. The cartoon appeared in a 1936 issue of Punch.

It’s not like the rich guy doesn’t really enjoy fishing. The joke here is the British aristocracy’s enforced nonchalance regarding success, and how this nonchalance could turn into shame when a member had to stand next to one of his trophies.

Otherwise the piece speaks for itself, I guess. Beautiful colors, and I like the way Reynolds handles the figure match-up — man and fish, boy and fish — from picture to picture. The red poster’s reflection in the canal water gives the boy enough visual presence to balance the greater mass if the man.

Google indicates that Reynolds is pretty much forgotten. (“Frank Reynolds is a name that you don’t hear mentioned much when artists are discussing classic illustrators,” says this article.) It’s too bad.

He was born in 1876 and started appearing in Punch when he was 30. Early on he did a cartoon called “On Tour with a Provincial Theatre Company,” which I would love to see.

Reynolds illustrated David Copperfield, among other works by Dickens. A Copperfield tribute site called Remember posted two dozen of the drawings. Here we have Uriah Heep, more athletic than usual but still very much himself.

Uriah Heep

My impression is that the Reynolds renditions give the Dickens characters more juice — pinker cheeks and sturdier limbs — than may be found elsewhere, but that they remain very much as traditionally imagined. Hence a crouching, shifty Uriah Heep who looks like he might do respectably in a fistfight.

Daily proverb. When you doubt, sing a song. When you’re sure, sing it louder!

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