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31 ottobre 2009 6 31 /10 /ottobre /2009 08:34

Proseguiamo nella presentazione di altre opere di John Leech (1817-1864),  create nel 1850 e nel 1851, tratte dal grande settimanale londinese PUNCH, The London Charivari, come recitava il suo sottotitolo.  Due storie di genere protofumettistico o narrazione ad immagini se si preferisce. Anche se raramente Leech fu uno degli autori di satira dei costumi sociali ad usare il filatterio, quello che noi chiamiamo fumetto, quell'espediente tecnico narrativo in cui vengono poste le parole proferite dai personaggi delle storie stesse, ne abbiamo un raro esempio nella quinta vignetta qui sotto.

Con queste due storie aventi a protagonista un certo Mr. Briggs, ad essere presi di mira sono i "piaceri dell'allevamento dei cavalli", attività a cui un gentlemen dell'epoca, e probabilmente anche dei nostri tempi, non poteva proprio sottrarsi. Anche la moda ha i suoi diktat...

John Leech - 'Mr. Briggs'

Pleasures of Horsekeeping


Pleasures of Horsekeeping

By the time Mr. Briggs's horse (which suits him exactly) has recovered from his cold, a long frost sets in.

Groom. 'That's just what I say, sir; it is aggeravatin' to see a nice oss like that, sir, a doin' nothin' but eatin' his ed off!'



The Frost goes and Mr. Briggs's horse is disagreeably fresh after his long rest. He sets up his back and squeaks, and plunges at everything he meets.



Mr. Briggs, not being good at his 'fences', goes through the performance of opening a gate.



Mr. Briggs has another day with the hounds.

Mr. Briggs can't bear flying leaps, so he makes for a gap - which is immediately filled by a franctic protectionist, who is vowing that he will pitchfork Mr. Briggs if he comes 'galloperravering' over his fences - danged if he doant !



Mr. Briggs has gone to the exhibition. - A Boy holds his horse in the meantime.

(in speechbaloons) ' Come, you get off you've had your turn' -
'Go along Irish. I shan't ! Why, I aint galloped im yet'



Mr. Briggs starts on his fishing excursion.


  Mr. B. won't have a man with him, as he thinks he can manage a punt by himself; and the consequence is, he is obliged to go to bed while his things are dried, having upset himself, as a matter of course.

Mr. Briggs tries (for many hours) a likely place for a perch; but , upon this occasion, the wind is not in a favourable quarter.


Minnow caught by Mr. Briggs, August 23rd 1850. - Exact size of life.

Mr. Briggs thinks of running down the day after to-morrow to his friend Haycock for a day's shooting, and has borrowed a dog to go with him. For the ninth time during the night he has been disturbed by the howling of the animal.

Mr. Briggs no sooner returns to his bed, than Mrs. Briggs says, 'My dear! There's that nasty tiresome dog again!!'

Mr. Briggs has another day's fishing.

He is so fortunate as to catch a large eel.

Triumphant success of Mr. Biggs.

Somehow or other (assisted by his little boy Walter), he catches a Jack, which, to use Mr. B.'s own words, flies at him, and barks like a dog !

Mr. Briggs has another glorious day with the hounds, and gets the brush (for which he pays half-a-sovereign - only don't tell anybody).




Mr. Briggs has backed himself to ride a steeple chase against his friend Muffins, of the St-k Exch-nge. He is going round the course just to look at the jumps.

Spectator (to Mr. B) 'Oh no, sir! - This ain't the Big One. The Big One is after you get out of the lane and afore you come to the brook.

Mr. Briggs Rides his Match

Mr. Briggs is weighed, of course.

His friends recommend him a little jumping powder.

Here he takes a preliminary canter, and puts his horse at a flight of hurdles.

and gets over very cleverly.

Some time after the start, Mr. Briggs goes on the wrong side of the flag, and is obliged to go back, which, as the ground is rather heavy, 'takes it out of old Blunderbuss considerably'.

who, in consequence, makes a mistake at the next fence.

However, Mr. Briggs is not hurt; and after some exertion, remounts.

Mr. Briggs as he appeared, coming to the brook. In the distance may be observed his opponent, who has a nasty fall, but fortunately tumbles on his head.

Mr. Briggs, as he appeared in the brook.

As he appeared when he came out of the brook.

Portrait of Mr. Briggs Winning the race. - N.B. The dense crowd is cheering him.

Mr. Briggs (We suppress the Gentlemman's name for obvious reasons) thinks he will go to Hampton Races.

On his return from the races, he assures his man that he's a most 'ekshellent servant' - that the mare never carried him better. He also tells him to make the mare quite 'comf-able', and to be 'very caref-l of hish candle' because there's so much straw about!

Mr. Briggs, anxious to become a 'complete angler', studies the 'gentle art' of fly-fishing.

Mr. Briggs goes out. His chief difficulty is, that every time he throws his line - the hooks (of which there are five) will stick behind in his jacket and tr-ws-rs.

Mr. Briggs goes grouse shooting.

9 A.M. His arrival on the moor. - Mr. Briggs says that the fine bracing air makes him so vigorous that he shall never be beat. he also facetiously remarks that he is on 'his native heath', and that his 'name is Macgregor!'

The result of the day's sport will be comunicated by Electric Telegraph.

Mr. Briggs grouse shooting.

11 a.m. Mr. Briggs begins to show symtoms of distress. He finds his 'native heath' a very different thing to his native Flag Stones.

12 a.m. Total prostration of Mr. Briggs.

Mr. Briggs is off again shooting.

[A cura di Massimo Cardellini]

LINK al post originale:
John Leech, Mr. Briggs, 1850

LINK pertinenti all'autore trattato:
Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, The Comic History of Rome, xilografie di John Leech,1850
John Leech, Mr. Noddy's, da PUNCH, 1855

LINK all'archivio on line delle opere di Leech disegnate per il celebre Punch:
John Leech Sketch archives from Punch

LINK interni pertinenti al protofumetto di lingua inglese:

John Tenniel, How Mr. Peter Piper... Near Burhampoor, Bengal, 1853.
Richard Doyle, Brown, Jones and Robinson, 1850
John Leech, Mr. Noddy's, 1855
Charles H. Ross & Marie Duval, 'Ally Sloper', 1867, 1
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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