Wednesday, April 20, 2016

247. "You Are Looking Very Beautiful To-Day"

On 17 November 1886, Judy's Annual for 1887, edited by Charles Henry Ross (1835-1897), was published 'at the Office of "Judy", 99 Shoe Lane, Fleet Street, E.C.' (See about a number of Judy publications, the Yesterday's Papers blog, January 2010).

Judy's Annual for 1887 (1886)
Several articles and stories were illustrated by the authors themselves. The editor, Ross, was among them. His magazine was a cheap alternative for Punch. Other contributions were illustrated by cartoon artists such as W.G. Baxter, who died at 32 in 1888, or illustrators such as Maurice Greiffenhagen (mentioned in the Contents as Grieffenhagen) (1862-1931).

The issue contains one drawing by Charles Shannon. His name is only mentioned in the table of Contents (page [15]).

Table of Contents in Judy's Annual for 1887 (1886)
Shannon illustrated a story by Philip Richards, 'A Phantom Fan'. The story is rather silly, and not worth re-telling in detail. Suffice to say, that a 'gallant man', named Bertie Brown, is officially engaged to Lily Grant, but can't stand his friend's stories about his love-sickness, and when he visits another young lady, Gladys Dawlish, he presents her with a fan. She handles it so expertly that Bertie finds himself enamoured with her.

He said - 'and meant it': "You are looking very beautiful to-day."

This is the moment that Shannon has illustrated.

C.H. Shannon, illustration in Judy's Annual for 1887 (1886, page [42])
'Up went the mystic fan again, and, in a moment, both heads were behind it.'

Then Bertie Brown marries a third young woman, 'Hilda K.', his barrister friend Wigster pays off the two ladies whose engagements were broken off by Bertie, and Wigster ends up marrying one of them.

The magazine was cheaply produced, as we can see on the page that bears the illustration: some words are incomplete ('ortnight' for 'fortnight'), some lines are warped, and raised space occurs in three places on page 42 alone.

Page 42 in Judy's Annual for 1887 (1886)

Shannon's illustration does not show his later subtle rendering of the female figure, it is a hasty and sketchy drawing, produced to earn a penny. At the time, Ricketts and Shannon did a lot of hackwork, most of them drawings for magazines, but also for some books. Shannon was born on 26 April 1863; when he delivered this drawing he was 23.