Very Light Blue

Very Light Blue. Source: Fun (5 April 1876): 148. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it.] — George P. Landow]

Fair Questioner: — “Were you ever in the race when you were at Oxford, Mr. Dapper?”

Mr. D. (doubtfully): — “Don’t know that I ever was, exactly; in fact, I partly believe not — Aw, fancy my chance was decided in favour of one of those beastly big fellows!”

Several matters of note in this cartoon. First, the male speaker wears a gaudily patterned suit, and the name the cartoonist has given him suggests that this kind of fabric was very fashionable. Second, note how heavily dressed are the two older women and the adolescent girl, whose shorter skirt indicates her age. Third, the joke, perhaps not obvious to North Americans or Europeans, is that rowing for Oxford and winning one’s “Blue” was so prestigious (Victorian and later obituaries often mentioned that accomplishment as particularly worthy of mention) that one would have no doubts if one had rowed for the university or even for one’s college. But “those beastly big fellows” did have an advantage!

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Last modified 14 March 2016