Wednesday, December 26, 2018

387. Children of the Hour

H. Henry & Company in London were the publishers of The Pageant, a luxury year book that was edited by Charles Shannon and Gleeson White, while the covers were designed by Charles Ricketts, endpapers were drawn by Selwyn Image, and many other artists' and authors' names adorned the large and regular advertisements that invited sales. After two volumes, the series was discontinued.

However, Henry & Co were adamant to succeed, and had many other projects going on. One of them was a magazine called The Children of the Hour, subtitled A Paper for the Few. A prospectus was issued on 15 December 1896, and two copies have survived in the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library.

The Pall Mall Gazette, 11 December 1896

The magazine never reached an audience; there were, perhaps, too few people who wanted it.

The list of contributors is long and represents almost everyone from the 1890s - except, of course, Oscar Wilde, and Aubrey Beardsley. The others were said to become contributors, such as Max Beerbohm, Charles Condor, Ernest Dowson, John Gray, Herbert Horne, Selwyn Image, Lionel Johnson, Richard Le Gallienne, Maurice Maeterlinck, G.B. Shaw - even Thomas Hardy was mentioned as a possible contributor. 

The list also includes Charles Ricketts and Gleeson White - the name of the art editor of The Pageant, Charles Shannon, doesn't figure in the prospectus.

The Pall Mall Gazette published an interview with the editor who assured that the subscription wouldn't be cheap, and the magazine would 'revive the art of the light essay'.

In the Daily News (14 December 1896), the editor remained vague about the date of publication of the new paper, there might be two or three issues a week. Apparently, the first issue never appeared, although advertisements quoted from the Globe: 'It is extremely small, it is written with the utmost care, and it is less concerned with affairs than with culture'. Sounds like a spoof.

The British Library also owns a copy of the prospectus.

In April 1897 advertisements still announced a first issue, stating that a 'Preliminary Number' would be sent on request (The Pall Mall Gazette, 3 April 1897). The real magazine never materialised.

Postscript, 30 October 2022:
In a letter to Michael Field, written in November 1898, Ricketts wrote that he had no intention to write an article for the proposed magazine.