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Illustrated newspaper

Related: 1830s - 1840s - illustration - newspaper - visual culture - woodcut - reading

The illustrated newspaper was the television of its age, creating an impact by giving a new dimension to the news. This lively form of journalism presented the news of the world at large, using artist-engravers as illustrator-writers, an early version of correspondents. --printsoldandrare.com [Dec 2004]


Although common today, illustrated newspapers were not introduced until the 1840s. When it was first published in 1842, The Illustrated London News was the first to add engravings of current events to their publication. The French Le Charviari was an early publication too. The illustrated newspaper was of importance in the development of visual culture. [Jan 2006]

Le Charivari (1832 - 1937)

Le Charivari was an illustrated newspaper published in Paris, France from 1832 to 1937.

To reduce their financial risk of censorship fines with the satirical anti-monarchist illustrated newspaper La Caricature, which had more pages and printed on more expensive paper, caricaturist Charles Philipon and his brother-in-law Gabriel Aubert started Le Charivari which contained humorous, but not as political, content.

Le Charivari published caricatures, political cartoons and reviews. In 1835 the government banned political caricature, thus Le Charivari began publishing satires of everyday life.

The ownership of the paper changed often due to censorship, and related taxes and fines.

Le Charivari published daily from 1832 to 1926, and then weekly until 1937. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Charivari [Jan 2006]

The London-based Punch magazine was subtitled The London Charivari when it was first published. [Jan 2006]

See also: satire - Honoré Daumier - 1832

Illustrated London News (1842)

The Illustrated London News was a magazine founded by Herbert Ingram and his friend Mark Lemon, the editor of Punch magazine. With Lemon as his chief adviser, the first edition of the Illustrated London News appeared on 14 May 1842. Costing sixpence, the magazine had sixteen pages and thirty-two woodcuts. The first edition included pictures of the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a steamboat explosion in Canada and a fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illustrated_London_News [Jan 2006]

Illustrated London News

The first modern news picture appeared in the "The Illustrated London News" in 1842. It showed the attempted assassination of Queen Victoria.

However the picture was simply an artist's impression of what had happened. No camera at the time could have caught the action and there wasn't a mechanical way to reproduce the photograph even if it had been taken.

Artists at that time would make a sketch of the scene, followed by a more detailed drawing. The drawing would be copied, sometimes in reverse, onto a smooth block of wood. A craftsman would cut away all the surface except the lines to be printed. In these pictures shadows were represented by many small separate strokes.

The finished block would then be pressed into clay, making an impression of the image. Molten type metal was then poured onto the clay making a cast. This cast plate was used in the ‘letterpress’ printing process where raised areas of metal carry the ink.

When photography came into use in the 1840’s it did not alter newspaper reporting because the wood engraving and printing processes of the time could only render solid backs and whites. The intermediate shades of grey found in a photograph could not be reproduced.

Photography simply supported the engraving process by replacing the initial artist drawn sketch of the scene. In 1891 in the USA alone there were 1,000 artists producing more than 10,000 drawings a week for the press. --http://www.ted.photographer.org.uk/photohistory_inprint.htm [Dec 2004]

On May 14th 1842, the first issue of the Illustrated London News was published. Its founder was a young printer, Herbert Ingram, a native of Boston, Lincolnshire. He had come to London and had decided that the time was ripe for the public to have a newspaper full of pictures in addition to the printed word.

Each piccture had to be drwan by an artist and then engraved by hand on pieces of box-wood. Captions and articles had to be hand-set, letter by letter. A small steam engine powered the printing machine.

The new paper was a success from the beginnng: 26,000 issues of the first copy were sold, and by 1851 , the year of The Great Exhibition in Hyde Park,sales reached 130,000 per week. The issue of March 14th, 1863, dealing with the marriage of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, numbered 310.000 copies. Special numbers in those far-off days cost Three Shillings.

In the year 1879, The ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS claimed to be the fastest wood-cut printing establishment in the world. The Ingram Rotary machine had been invented. It printed both sides of the paper at once aand turned out 6,500 copies per hour. It required only four men to operate it, whereas thirty men and five machines were needed previously.

Although photography had been used since 1842 as a basis from which wood engravings were copied it was not until 1860 that an illustration was photographed onto the box-wood and then engraved by hand. --http://www.iln.org.uk/iln_years/ilnhist1951.htm [Dec 2004]

Engraving [...]

Before the advent of photography, engraving used to reproduce other forms of art, for example paintings. Engravings continued to be common in newspapers and many books into the early 20th century, as they were long cheaper to mass reproduce than photo images. Engraving has also always been used as a method of original artistic expression. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engraving [Jan 2005]

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