Imágenes de páginas


A YEAR or two since a weekly paper was started in London, called the " Illustrated News.” It was filled with tolerably executed wood cuts, representing scenes of popular interest, and though perhaps better calculated for the nursery than the reading room, it took very well in England, where few can read, but all can understand pictures, and soon attained an immense circulation. As when the inimitable London Punch attained its world-wide celebrity, supported by such writers as Thackeray, Jerrold and Hood, would-be funny men on this side of the Atlantic-attempted absurd imitations—the" Yankee Doodle "_the“ John Donkey,” &c., which as a matter of course proved miserable failures; so did the success of this Illustrated affair inspire our money-loving publishers with hopes of dollars, and soon appeared from Boston, New York and other places, Pictorial and Illustrated Newspapers, teeming with execrable and silly effusions, and Alled with the most fearful wood engravings, “got up regardless of expense” or any thing else; the contemplation of which was enough to make an artist tear his hair and rend his garments. A Yankee named Gleason, of Boston, published the first, we believe, calling it “ Gleason's Pictorial (it should have been Gleason's Pickpocket) and Drawing Room Companion.” In this he presented to his unhappy subscribers, views of his house in the country, and his garden, and for aught we know, of “his ox and his ass, and the stranger within his gates.” A detestable invention for transferring Daguerreotypes to plates for engraving, having come into notice about this time, was eagerly seized upon by Gleason, for farther embellishing his catchpenny publication, duplicates and uncalled for pictures were easily obtained, and many a man has gazed in horror-stricken astonishment on the likeness of a respected friend, as a "Portrait of Monroe Edwards," or that of his deceased grandmother, in the character of “ One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.” They love pictures in Yankeedom; every tin peddler has one on his wagon, and an itinerant lecturer can always obtain an audience by sticking up a likeness of some unhappy female, with her ribs laid open in an impossible manner, for public inspection, or a hairless gentleman, with the surface of his head laid out in eligible lots, duly marked and numbered. The factory girls of Lowell, the Professors of Harvard all bought the new Pictorial. (Professor Webster was reading one, when Dr. Parkman called on him on the morning of the murder.) Gleason's speculation was crowned with success, and he bought himself a new cooking stove and erected an out-building on his estate, with both of which he favored the public in a new wood cut im. mediately.

Inspired by his success, old Feejee-Mermaid-Tom-ThumbWoolly-horse-Joyce-Heth-Barnum, forthwith got out another Illustrated Weekly, with pictures far more extensive, letterpress still sillier, and engravings more miserable, if possible, than Yankee Gleason's. And then we were bored and buffeted by having incredible likenesses of Santa Anna, Queen Victoria and poor old Webster, thrust beneath our nose, to that degree that we wished the respected originals had never existed, or that the art of wood engraving had perished with that of painting on glass.

It was, therefore, with the most intense delight that we saw a notice the other day of the failure and stoppage of Barnum's Illustrated News; we rejoiced thereat, greatly, and we hope that it will never be revived, and that Gleason will also fail as soon as he conveniently can, and that his trashy Pictorial will perish with it.

It must not be supposed from the tenor of these remarks that we are opposed to the publication of a properly conducted and @reditably executed Illustrated paper.

« On the contrary, quite the reverse.” We are passionately fond of art ourselves, and we believe that nothing can have a stronger tendency to refinement in society, than presenting to the public, chaste and elaborate engravings, copies of works of high artistic merit, accompanied by graphic and well written essays. It was for the purpose of introducing a paper containing these features to our appreciative community, that we have made these introductory remarks, and for the purpose of challenging comparison, and defying competition, that we have criticised so severely the imbecile and ephemeral productions mentioned above. At a vast expenditure of money, time and labor, and after the most incredible and unheard of exertion, on our part, individually, we are at length able to present to the public an Illustrated publication of unprecedented merit, containing engravings of exceeding costliness and rare beauty of design, got up on an expensive scale, which never has been attempted before, in this or any other country,

We furnish our readers this week with the first number, merely premising that the immense expense attending its issue, will require a corresponding liberality of patronage on the part of the Public, to cause it to be continued.


And Second Story Front Room Companion.

Vol. I.]

San Diego, October 1, 1853.

[No. I.

Portrait of His Royal Highness Prince Albert.-Prince Albert, the son of a gentleman named Coburg, is the husband of Queen Victoria of England, and the father of many of her children. He is the inventor of the celebrated “ Albert hat," which has been lately introduced with great effect in the U. S. Army. The Prince is of German extraction, his father being a Dutchman and his mother a Duchess.

Mansion of John Phoenix, Esq., San Diego, California.

House in which Shakespeare was born, in Stratford-onAvon.

Abbotsford, the residence of Sir Walter Scott, author of Byron's Pilgrim's Progress, &c.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »