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|Title:||GRAPHIC: AN ILLUSTRATED WEEKLY NEWSPAPER (1869-1932)|
This illustrated weekly emerged indirectly from the Illustrated London News stable, to become the ILNs most serious and sustained rival. Like the ILN, its genre was graphics combined with news, but unlike the ILN, its visuals took precedence. In the Preface to its first volume its editor notes its instant success with the public, and deems it worthy of preservation as an artistic record of the times in which we live (v). This twin emphasis on its pictorial copy and preservation is echoed in an advert in the North British Review the following year (see Figure 25a); portfolios for numbers are offered for preservation along with a cover for the first forthcoming volume, the collectability of which is mooted by reference to its visual contents: upwards of Four Hundred Engravings, many of which have been pronounced...the most effective and elaborate specimens of Fine Art Engraving and Printing. W. L. Thomas, its founder and proprietor was a skilled wood engraver and watercolour artist who established a prominent engraving business. Both he and his brother George were associated with the ILN, Williams firm having provided wood blocks for the ILN and other illustrated papers , while George, an accomplished illustrator and painter, supplied it with drawings. When in 1868 George died and the ILN refused W. L.s request for the loan of his brothers wood blocks for a memorial exhibition, W. L. decided to launch his own illustrated paper. One of its financial backers was Nathaniel Cook, the brother-in-law of the (deceased) founder of the ILN. In his 1888 retrospect, Thomas recalled the original distinction between the Graphic and other illustrated papers -- its openness to all artists, whatever their method, instead of [only] draughtsmen on wood (81), the wildly successful launch design for the hoardings -- Watch this Space in otherwise empty picture frames, and its initially smelly ink.
First issued 4 Dec 1869 at 6d weekly in imperial folio, the Graphic was fortunate not only in the high quality of its engravings, but in the timing of its entrance into the market, followed quickly as it was by the Franco-Prussian War (19 July 1870-May 1871) which stimulated newspaper sales; by 1874 the circulation of its Tichborne number was 250, 000. At 6d, it cost 1d more than the 5d ILN, but from its launch, the higher quality of the Graphics illustrations ensured its popularity and sales. Its cover page was dominated by a large cut, and its inner pages -- divided into three columns -- were heavily illustrated, initially with alternate text and illustrated openings.
In early 1871 it was issued in monthly parts as well in its 24 page Saturday format, and later a weekly DeLuxe edition was sold for 9d. In early numbers adverts filled 2 1/2 to 3 pages. Special Christmas numbers (24 pp in 1869) were issued from the start, containing stories, poetry, and seasonal illustrations and adverts. H. Sutherland Edwards (1869-1870) was the first editor, followed by Arthur Locker (1870-1891) and T H Joyce (1891-1906), Edwards bringing with him much of the staff from the defunct Illustrated Times (Williamson: 393). By 1886 supplements were common, incorporated like a department occupying pp.17-24. Most of the copy was anonymous, except for fiction, and few named authors appeared in the volume indexes at this time.
Many artists who first published in the Graphic as young unknowns learned their craft and made their reputation through the weekly, including Lukes Fildes, Hubert Herkomer, A.B. Houghton, Sydney P Hall, and G Durand, but the mature Millaiss Cherry Ripe also first appeared in the Graphic. Whole pages are regularly dedicated to multiple sketches or cameo portraits, and the display adverts are spectacular. It is telling that when Thomas discusses war and foreign correspondents in 1888, he is referring to the draughtsmen Houghton and Hall at the front in 1870, whose sketches were sent via balloon. The Graphic also routinely included serial fiction and stories, among others Trollopes Phineas Redux, Thomas Hardys The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the DUrbervilles, Rider Haggards She, and H G Wellss When the Sleeper Wakes. Regular d epartments (1886) included Topics of the Week, a series of occasional paragraphs without headlines occupying at least a page, and Our Illustrations, which provided the news stories behind the pictures, in a similar format. Entertainment news was a staple, and Amusement small ads were a department in 1880, while in 1890 Music appears on the same page as Foreign and The Court. So successful was the weekly Graphic that a separate morning daily, the Daily Graphic, was launched in 1890, coexisting for 36 years with the sturdy weekly, which outlived it.
Figure 25a: Advertisement for the early Graphic, North British Review, Jan. 1871
Sources: Altick 1957, Beegan 2008, Graphic, British Quarterly Review 1870, Graphic, North British Review 1871, Law 2000, NCBLN, Thomas 1888, Waterloo, Williamson 1890.
ANONYMITY AND SIGNATURE
DAILY GRAPHIC (1890-1926)
ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS (1842-1989)
ILLUSTRATED TIMES (1855-1872)
MUSIC AND JOURNALISM
NORTH BRITISH REVIEW (1844-1871)
SERIALS AND THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
TROLLOPE, ANTHONY (1815-1882)
WAR AND JOURNALISM
PRICE AND COVER PRICE
SIZE AND FORMAT
Women and the press
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