Packing a Punch a Kensington Central Library

Punch 1900

Punch 1900

One of the many treasures of Kensington Central Library’s store is our run of Punch magazines. Punch started in July 1841 as a radical illustrated magazine of humour: it began with an investment of £25, and initially sold about 6000 copies per week. Kensington Central Reference Library has a nearly complete collection of Punch magazines from its 151 year run, that ended in 1992.

1841: the first volume (“charivari” is a French word meaning a serenade of rough music, and was also the name of a French saticirical newspaper of that period).

The first volume of Punch, 1841

The first volume of Punch, 1841

According to The Victorian Web , Punch is likely short for Punchinello, from a Neapolitan word for a young turkey cock. The hooked nose of Punch’s mask resembles the turkey cock’s bill. See below for the first splashes of colour emerging in a 1952 edition (and Punch’s dog, Toby):

Punch, 1952

Punch, 1952

During its lifetime it showcased some of the best British cartoonists, a few who called themselves The Punch Brotherhood and were associated with Charles Dickens. At a later date, they also included EH Shepard, of Winnie-the-Pooh fame:

EH Shepard, Punch 1942

EH Shepard, Punch 1942

On a more topical theme, Punch on the Olympics (specifically the doping scandals of the 1976 events) and Punch on tennis (a tongue-in-cheek 1920′s take on how one behaves at the tennis club):

Punch Olympics cartoons 1976

Punch Olympics cartoons 1976

Punch tennis cartoons, 1955

Punch tennis cartoons 1925

We’ll be showcasing some of our Punches in the Central Library, and the rest are all available by request from the Central Reference Library store. Come in and take a look!

Punch embossed cover

Punch embossed cover

One thought on “Packing a Punch a Kensington Central Library

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s