Handsome Prints

10/16/2008


I love caricatures. Over-exaggerating someone’s most distinctive physical traits actually comes much closer to capturing how we really see them. From 1869 through the early twentieth century, England’s weekly Vanity Fair magazine released some of the most amazing caricatures of all time. Each week the magazine would feature a full-page rendering of a person of particular signficance – from bankers to boxers, foxhunters to freemasons, cricketers to criminals. These were individuals who, for whatever reason, had left a stamp on their day. The performance of their task – be it leading or nation or driving a carriage – had been done with distinction.

The idea of a weekly “personality” feature has traveled down through the decades, landing with a over-reaching thud on the slightly cruder and notably less selective New York magazine Look Book page. In any case, check out at the Vanity Fair Print Company website for an ever-changing selection of these killer prints. I’ve collected some notorious-looking African kings in robes with shotguns and emaciated looking Indian intellectuals wearing ridiculously cool dhotis. My favorite categories for browsing are the “Orientals” and “Royalty” sections. It’s quite revealing to see what “ethnics” looked like to the Eighteenth Century White eye. Hmm… what would they exaggerate about me honey?

Vanity Fair Prints

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