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Vanity Fair Spy Print of Rupert

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Vanity Fair “Spy” Print, c1905, titled “Rupert”, is a caricature of Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness of the famous brewing family

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W-28 H-41 (cm)

Item Reference:

58360-864-2Tip! This item's Ref-Code breaks down thus...
Item Ref Code: 58360-864-2
Item No. 58360 - Dealer No. 864 - Building No. 2


This Vanity Fair “Spy” Print, titled “Rupert”, is of Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh (29 Mar 1874 - 14 Sep 1967) who was an Anglo-Irish businessman, politician, oarsman and philanthropist. Born in London, he was the eldest son of Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh. Rupert served as the twentieth Chancellor of the University of Dublin from 1927 to 1963, succeeding his father who was Chancellor between 1908 and 1927.
Rupert Guinness was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1900 he served in the Boer War with the Irish Hospital Corps. He was Unionist MP for the constituency of Haggerston in the east end of London (winning a by-election from the Liberals in 1908, but losing the seat in 1910) and from 1912 to 1927 was MP for Southend.
In 1927 he succeeded his father as Earl of Iveagh and chairman of the family brewing business in Dublin and for thirty-five years directed its consolidation at home and its expansion abroad with the establishment of breweries in London, Nigeria and Malaya. It was during Rupert's management that the Guinness World Records started. The brewery was always on the look-out for good promotional ideas to bring the Guinness name to the public's attention.
The date of “Nov 9 1905”, is when the picture of “Rupert” would have been published in the Vanity Fair magazine. This was during the time when Rupert Guinness served as a captain in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and whilst he was commanding officer of HMS President (London Division RNVR) from 1903 until 1920.

Other information included on the print is the name of the subject, the "Hon Rupert Guinness", "Vincent Brooks, Day & Son Ltd Lith" (the publisher), and "Men of the Day No 989" (on reverse, with accompanying biographical notes that would have appeared in the magazine).
The artist, with the pseudonym of “Spy” (which is included on the picture) was Sir Leslie Matthew Ward (21 Nov 1851 - 15 May 1922). Ward was a British portrait artist and caricaturist who over four decades painted 1,325 portraits which were regularly published by Vanity Fair, under the pseudonyms "Spy" and "Drawl". The portraits were produced as watercolours and turned into chromolithographs for publication in the magazine. These were then usually reproduced on better paper and sold as prints. Such was his influence in the genre that all Vanity Fair caricatures are sometimes referred to as "Spy cartoons" regardless of who the artist actually was. Early portraits, almost always full-length (judges at the bench being the main exception), had a stronger element of caricature and usually distorted the proportions of the body, with a very large head and upper body supported on much smaller lower parts. Later, as he became socially accepted in the society in which he moved to gain access to his subjects, and not wishing to cause offence, his style developed into what he called "characteristic portraits", being less of a caricature and more of an actual portrait of the subject, using realistic body proportions.

The publisher was Vincent Brooks Day & Son, a major British lithographic company, formed in 1867 when Vincent Brooks bought the name of Day & Son Ltd. The firm reproduced artwork and illustrations and were most widely known for reproducing these weekly caricatures to be published in the Vanity Fair magazine. Vincent Brooks Day & Son also went on to print many of the iconic London Underground posters of the twenties and thirties.

Vanity Fair was a well known magazine of the time. It was published weekly between November 1868 and January 1914. Each week a different caricature accompanied with biographical notes formed a focal point of the magazine.
Quintessentially English and still very affordable the enduring popularity of these classics of antique English caricature has increased dramatically in recent years among discerning Vanity Fair Print collectors, interior designers and decorators.
They are unique records of Victorian and Edwardian society that so wonderfully reflect their time and represent a window into a golden era.
Written by and for the Victorian and Edwardian establishment, Vanity Fair was the magazine for those "in the know." Members of the Smart Set delighted in finding themselves caricatured in prose and picture. For them, Vanity Fair summarized each week the important events of their world. It reviewed the newest opening in the West End and the latest novel in the club's library; it aroused their curiosity and envy; it angered and amused them. The news and Society columns, the book and play reviews, the serialized novels and word games and the colour lithograph caricatures give us a glimpse into the lives and reputations of men and women who achieved either lasting or fleeting fame and fortune during the heyday of the British Empire.
The caricatures, which have become the magazine's chief legacy, fascinate the scholar, the lay person and the collector for their historical and biographical value and their satirical and artistic quality. Although Vanity Fair is best remembered for these chromolithographic caricatures, the magazine was, at its zenith, recognized and respected in its totality - for its features, prose, advertising and format.
This print of “Rupert” is in an appropriate frame and the dimensions are:
28 cm (width) x 41 cm (height)


Item Reference
Height: 41 cm
Width: 28 cm
1901 - 1910, C20th (Edwardian)
Country of Origin
Good condition with clear un-faded colours and framed appropriately


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