Drawing Blood Q&A, week 7 - who would have been enjoying these drawings when they were first printed?

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Drawing Blood Q&A, week 7 - who would have been enjoying these drawings when they were first printed?

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Funded by the Arts Council and led by artist Simon Grennan, ‘Drawing Blood’ is a new collaborative art project that creates a new online exhibition of twenty new, original animated artworks. Hosted by Gladstone’s Library, the online exhibition will also be available at Contemporary Art Space Chester and at Aura libraries in North Wales, including Broughton, Buckley, Mold, Deeside, Holywell, Connah’s Quay and Flint.

The new artworks are inspired by a book Simon found in the Gladstone’s Library collections. Dating from 1878, Gladstone from Judy’s Point of View collects cartoons satirising one of the hot topics of the period – liberal political opinion. As one of the major Liberal politicians, William Ewart Gladstone is often in the firing line of Judy’s cartoonists. In the tradition of political artists everywhere their pens puncture any political pomposity, drawing Gladstone (and others) not as respected statesman but as wobbly juggler, unstable acrobat, indecisive whirligig, pram-pushing lady, and many more.

Ahead of the exhibition’s launch, Simon gave us some exclusive insights into the production process. They’ll be posted on this blog each week: for a full list, please visit the project’s home page: https://www.gladstoneslibrary.org/reading-rooms/digital-gladstone/drawing-blood-drawing-poison-drawing-fire

Who would have been enjoying these drawings when they were first printed?

The cartoons in the collection about William Gladstone were published in the weekly London magazine Judy between 1870 and 1880, so they had already been enjoyed by readers of the magazine. The collected edition was obviously a punt by the magazine, seeking to provide a new book for sale to current readers as a keepsake, a ‘delux’ edition. Figures for the circulation of the magazine (or the numbers of these books printed) no longer exist, although comparative estimates run to five figures for readers of Judy. The magazine distributed all across the country and the empire. According to its cost, readers who bought the paper were lower middle class. In the 1870s, this meant that they were urban working people who could afford to hire (or were aspiring to hire) a household servant. The magazine also circulated via a wide informal, national network of readers who passed it on, second hand, rather than buying it new

Pwy fyddai wedi bod yn mwynhau’r darluniau hyn pan wnaethant gael eu hargraffu gyntaf.

Roedd y cart?ns yn y casgliad am William Gladstone wedi eu cyhoeddi yn y cylchgrawn wythnosol Llundain Judy yn 1870 a 1880, felly roeddent eisoes yn rhoi mwynhad i ddarllenwyr y cylchgrawn. Roedd y rhifyn a gasglwyd yn amlwg yn gambl gan y cylchgrawn, gan geisio darparu llyfr newydd ar werth i ddarllenwyr presennol fel cofrodd, rhifyn ‘arbennig’. Nid yw ffigyrau ar gyfer dosbarthu’r cylchgrawn (neu’r nifer o’r llyfrau hyn a argraffwyd) yn bodoli mwyach, er bod amcangyfrif cymharol yn rhedeg i bump ffigwr ar gyfer darllenwyr Judy. Roedd y cylchgrawn wedi’i ddosbarthu ar draws y wlad a’r ymerodraeth. Yn ôl y gost, roedd y darllenwyr oedd yn prynu’r papur o ddosbarth canol is. Yn y 1870au, roedd hyn yn golygu eu bod yn bobl dosbarth gwaith trefol oedd yn gallu fforddio llogi (neu’n ymgeisio i logi) gweinydd aelwyd. Roedd y cylchgrawn hefyd yn cael ei ddosbarthu drwy rwydwaith cenedlaethol, anffurfiol eang o ddarllenwyr oedd yn ei drosglwyddo, yn ail law, yn hytrach na phrynu un newydd.