The Graphic


The Graphic

"The Graphic" was a British illustrated newspaper, first published on 4 December 1869 by Illustrated Newspapers, Ltd. It continued to be published weekly under this title until 23 April 1932 and then changed title to "The National Graphic" between 28 April and 14 July 1932; it then ceased publication after 3,266 issues.

Background

"The Graphic" was founded by William Luson Thomas, a wood engraver and social reformer. The first editor was Henry Sutherland Edwards, and Thomas also recruited a number of gifted artists including Luke Fildes, Hubert von Herkomer, Frank Holl, and John Millais. "The Graphic" was published on a Saturday and its original cover price was sixpence. In its first year, it described itself to advertisers as "a superior illustrated weekly newspaper, containing twenty-four pages imperial folio, printed on fine toned paper of beautiful quality, made expressley for the purpose and admirably adapted for the display of engravings".

When it started out, the newspaper was printed in a rented house. However it was a rapid success, and by 1882 the company owned three buildings, twenty printing machines and employed over 1,000 people.

It had subscribers all around the British Empire and in North America.

Artists employed on "The Graphic" and "The Daily Graphic" at the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th century included Alexander Boyd, Frank Brangwyn, James H. Dowd, Harry Furniss, Phil May, Ernest Prater, Leonard Raven-Hill, Edmund Sullivan, George Stampa, Sidney Sime, Bert Thomas and F. H. Townsend. [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jgraphic.htm]

Writers for the paper included George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, H. Rider Haggard and Anthony Trollope. [http://www.library.yale.edu/~mpowell/victorianper.html#graph]
Malcolm Charles Salaman was employed there from 1890 to 1899.

Innovations

"The Graphic" was designed to compete with the famous "Illustrated London News" (established in 1842), and became its most successful rival. Earlier rivals such as the "Illustrated Times" and the "Pictorial Times" had either failed to compete or been merged with the ILN. It appealed to the same middle-class readership, but "The Graphic", as its name suggests, was intended to use images in a more vivid and striking way than the rather staid ILN. To this end it employed some of the most important artists of the day, making an immediate splash in 1869 with "Houseless and Hungry", Luke Fildes' dramatic image of the shivering London poor seeking shelter in a workhouse.

The paper covered home news and news from around the British Empire, devoted much attention to literature, arts, sciences, the fashionable world, sport, music and opera. Royal occasions and national celebrations and ceremonials were also given prominent coverage.

In 1889, Thomas's company H.R. Baines and Co. commenced publication of the first daily illustrated newspaper in England, which was called "The Daily Graphic." This is not to be confused with its American precursor, the "Daily Graphic", which was the first American daily illustrated newspaper, founded in 1873.

Weekly topics

* Topics of the Week: 12 paragraphs of news coverage.
* Amusements: A roundup of activities for the week, for the middle-class reader.
* Our illustrations: a summary of all the illustrations in the edition.
* Home: a summary of the news in Britain.
* Church news
* Legal: Trials and Cases of interest to the target reader.
* A weekly serial written by popular authors of the time, such as William Black (although this seemed to appear in the 1880s).
* Book reviews
* A summary of the new developments in science.
* Rural notes: information about the season and tips about crops, and other news concerning the rampant unrest of the farm labourers.
* New Music: Reviews of the latest music and musicals.
* Obituaries: of Church leaders, factory owners, European Royalty, musicians and noteworthy Victorians.
* Sport: coverage of football and cricket (with W.G. Grace)

There were at least three pages dedicated to advertising and it is interesting to see the obsession with hygiene, with countless adverts for toothpaste and soap products (and 'miracle-cure' pills).

Demise

On August 15, 1932 Time Magazine reported the name change to "The National Graphic" and editor William Comyns Beaumont of The Bystander took over, replacing Alan John Bott. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,744210,00.html Time Magazine: "Eight Less One"] , August 15, 1925]

References

*"Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory", 1870
*"The Reference Specialist British Library Newspapers"

Further reading

*"Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800-1900" (Canada: North Waterloo Academic Press, 2003)
*"The Newspaper Press in Britain: an annotated bibliography" (London:Mansell Publishing, 1987).

External links

* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jgraphic.htm A history of "The Graphic" newspaper & staff, with image of the paper's engraving room in 1882.]
* [http://www.bl.uk/collections/victoria.html Publication dates] (British Library website)
* [http://www.bl.uk/collections/britnews.html Example of an engraving from an 1869 edition of "The Graphic"]
* [http://www.library.yale.edu/~mpowell/victorianper.html#graph Images and text from "The Graphic"] (of 1st February 1873)


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