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31 agosto 2009 1 31 /08 /agosto /2009 09:38

Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914), fu un celebre pittore e disegnatore inglese che collaborò molto a lungo per la famosissima rivista londinese di satira politica e di costume Punch, anche se oggi è soprattutto ricordato per le sue splendide illustrazioni dei due capolavori letterari scritti dal reverendo Lewis Carroll e cioè Alice nel paese delle meraviglie ed il suo seguito Dietro lo speccchio.

Grazie al sostegno di un altro famoso disegnatore di Punch, Charles Keene, iniziò ad avere un certo riconoscimento nel disegno satirico ed umoristico. L'illustrazione delle favole di Esopo ebbero un buon successo. Nel 1850 infine diventò disegnatore associato per Punch insieme a John Leech, un altro grande dell'illustrazione dell'epoca. Un importante riconoscimento gli giunse nel 1874 quando egli fu eletto come membro
ad honorem del Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours e nel 1893, su iniziativa di Gladstone gli fu offerta la carica di Cavaliere.

Le storie presentate sono interessanti perché oltre al loro valore artistico intrinseco, esse sono basate su di un personaggio ricorrente soddisfacendo così un criterio, quello della serialità che diventerà fondamentale, ed anche sin troppo, nel successivo vero e proprio fumetto. Questo Mister piper apparentemente sfortunato ad ogni episodio, poi per motivi quasi providenziali riesce sempre a fare un'ottima figura, segno indubbiamente che la missione civilizzatrice dell'uomo bianco è ben vista nell'alto dei cieli...

How Mr. Peter Piper...

Near Burhampoor, Bengal



How Mr. Peter Piper Enjoyed a Day's 'Pig-sticking'
Near Burhampoor, Bengal
Mr. Peter Piper rides to cover, and comes to the conclusion, that a camels back bears little or no resemblance to an arm-chair.

Having arrived at the 'Hunting Ground', Mr. Peter Piper tries to take a 'first spear' and fails.

Mr. Peter Piper begins to think 'pig-sticking' a sport only fit for maniacs. He anathematizes all foreign countries -

- and Bengal in particular, and fervently wishes himself in the bosom of his family.

After a tremendous run for his life, Mr. Peter Piper meets a trusty syce, who, to the intense delight of Mr. Piper has brought his horse.

On his way through the jungle, Mr. Peter Piper encounters a 'sounder' and dispatches three 'hogs' in gallant style.

He persues his way in a triumphant manner -

- and ultimately rejoins his friends at 'tiffin', where he affirms that a day's 'pig-sticking' is the height of all human enjoyment and Bengal rather a jolly place than otherwise.



Mr. Peter Piper is morally certain that he can't possibly fire without upsetting the canoe.

Moment of intense anxiety - Mr. Peter Piper fires and his prediction is fulfilled.

The shot, however, takes effect - the buffolo becomes a corpse, but Mr. Peter Piper thinks it hardly worthwhile securing the body.

Mr. Peter Piper has no faith whatever in 'those gimcrack canoes' and begins to think buffalo-shooting 'very poor fun' as compared with 'pig-sticking'. He takes a little refreshment.

Terrific descent of a heard of buffalos. Mr. Peter Piper is seized with a panic -

- and with considerable difficulty climbs into a tree for safety. Peculiarly perplexing position of Mr. Peter Piper.

But a well-directed second barrel settles the matter satisfactorily, and Mr. Peter Piper 'knocks over' the 'monster' in gallant style.

Having secured the skin and horns as trophies of his prowess, Mr. Peter Piper returns to Burhampoor in a triumphant manner.


How Mr. Peter Piper Was Induced to Join in a Bear-hunt
Near Burhampoor, Bengal
Mr. Peter Piper takes up what he considers to be a 'first-rate' position'. The firework is about to be thrown into the den of the bear - moment of intense exitement.

Sudden and unexpected appearance of a bear in the wrong direction. Mr. Peter Piper begins to think his position rather inferior than otherwise.

But - nothing daunted - he grapples manfully with his ferocious antagonist, and a terrific struggle ensues.

In due course of time Mr. Peter Piper and the ferocious antagonist arrive at the bottom of the ravine, in a very dilapidated and exhausted condition.

Having collected his scattered senses, Mr. Peter Piper is determined to subdue the monster or 'perish in the attempt'. He prepares to renew the conflict.

A desperate struggle ensues and Mr. Peter Piper is on the point of 'perishing in the attempt', when a timely shot from his trusty syce alters the position of affairs.

Mr. Peter Piper returns to Burhampoor in a triumphant manner, and begins to look upon himself in the light of a hero.


How Mr. Peter Piper Accepted an Invitation
From the Rajah of Rhubburddubdub to Hunt a 'Royal Bengal Tiger'
Elated by his recent triumphs, Mr. Peter Piper is determined to perform prodigies of valour, but is somewhat disconcerted on trying to mout his elephant in an active manner.

On entering the jungle an appaling growl is distinctly audible; the elephant is seized with a panic and gets rid of Mr. Peter Piper by a summary process.

Bewildered condition of Mr. Peter Piper on reaching the ground. (Another growl). Wherever he turns his frenzied gaze he 'makes sure' he sees the tiger. He begins to feel no longer valiant -

- and is on the point of 'lifting up his voice' for help, when the Mahout reappears with the elephant, which performs a timely service by lifting up his body. Mr. Peter Piper is rescued from the horrors of his position.

Once more securely seated on the back of the elephant, Mr. Peter Piper persues the chase with renewed energy. Terrific appearance of the 'Royal Bengal Tiger'.

Ungovernable rage of the infuriated elephant. The 'Royal Bengal Tiger ' falls to rise no more. In the intensity of the excitement Mr. Peter Piper looses his equilibrium.

On regaining his perpendicular Mr. Peter Piper perceives the dangerous condition of the 'feline monster' , and determines to 'polish him off at once' . He does so in gallant style.

Mr. Peter Piper receives the congratulations of his friends for the 'indomitable courage' and 'reckless daring' he has manifested throughout the perils of the day's adventure.

[A cura di Massimo Cardellini]

LINK al post originale:
Early Comics Archive

LINK interni pertinenti:

Richard Rowlandson, Tre viaggi alla ricerca del pittoresco, di consolazione e di una moglie, 1812, 01 di 03
John Tenniel, How Mr. Peter Piper... Near Burhampoor, Bengal, 1853
La storia sorprendente ed interessante di John Giller l'ammazzagiganti, 1830
Richard Doyle, Brown, Jones and Robinson, 1850
John Leech, Mr. Noddy's, 1855
Charles H. Ross & Marie Duval, 'Ally Sloper', 1867, 01
William Heath. White Bait, 1830
Charles Keene, 'The Adventures of Miss Lavinia Brounjones' (1866)
Anonimo, The Flying Machine, 1865
Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, The Comic History of Rome. Xilografie di John Leech, 1850

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