[Joseph Simpson, English artist and cartoonist.] Signed proofs of six prints, caricaturing George Bernard Shaw; Maxim Gorky; Hall Caine; Thomas Hardy; Algernon Charles Swinburne and J. Pierpont Morgan' ['London Opinion' and 'Lions'].

Joseph Simpson (1879-1939), English artist, engraver and cartoonist [George Bernard Shaw; Maxim Gorky; Gabriele D'Annunzio; Thomas Hardy; Algernon Charles Swinburne]
Publication details: 
[First published in the weekly magazine 'London Opinion'. Reprinted in the book 'Lions', published in New York and San Francisco by Morgan Shepard Co., [1906].]
SKU: 15178

Simpson was a native of Carlisle in Cumbria, and came to London in the early years of the twentieth century, where he was encouraged by Frank Brangwyn to take up etching. In 1918 he was made official artist with the new Royal Air Force. The National Portrait Gallery has eight of Simpson's works, but none of the present six, which are all in the style of the artist's portrait ('ink, irregular') of the Earl of Halsbury, present in the Gallery's collection.Each of the six caricatures is printed in black within a 17 x 12 cm border. Each has Simpson's original pencil signature (three in grey and three in orange) outside the border in the bottom right-hand corner. All six are printed on thin paper (ranging in size from 18 x 13cm to 19.5 x 13cm), and each is backed on a piece of card (from 19 x 13.5cm to 21 x 16cm). All six in good condition, on aged paper with minimal spotting, with the card mounts showing evidence of previous framing. These six caricatures are uncommon: they are not among the eight Simpson items held by the National Portrait Gallery. Originally produced for the 'London Opinion' weekly magazine, they were among the fourteen which featured in the 1906 book 'Lions' (New York and San Francisco: Morgan Shepard Co.). The book itself is scarce: it was only published in America and there are no copies in English libraries listed on COPAC or among the twelve on OCLC WorldCat. In the introduction to 'Lions' C. Haldane Macfall (1860-1928) ranks Simpson with Max Beerbohm, F. Carruthers Gould and E. T. Reed as one of the leading English caricaturists, adding that there is 'no living caricaturist who can approach Joseph Simpson in decorative sense, in massing and arrangement, or for beauty of artistry'. Macfall regards Simpson's portrait of Gorky as 'the finest portrait of the Russian upon which I have so far set eyes', and commends 'the aggressiveness of SHAW, [...] the solemn earnestness of HALL CAINE [...] the poetic absorption of his SWINBURNE'. Simpson was a native of Carlisle in Cumbria, and came to London at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1918 he was made official artist of the Royal Air Force. He was a close friend of Frank Brangwyn, whose influence is apparent in his work.