Let Us Live Up to It

“Let Us Live Up to It” [Design for an Æsthetic Theatrical Poster. Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910). Punch (7 May 1881): 215. Source: The Hathi Trust Digital Library’s online version of a copy in the Harvard University Library. Click on image to enlarge it.

Sambourne’s figure dressed in a classical robe holds up a beautiful tea pot, urging those around her that they should prove themselves worthy of it by living up to its aesthetic standard. The woman whose hat bears the name “Modjeska” is Helena Modjeska (1840-1909), a Polish actress who emigrated to the United States, established herself there, and also had successful tours in England, earning a reputation for her roles in Shakespeare’s plays. Beneath the figure in the lower right corner who is wearing a hat and smoking a pipe, Sambourne has placed the words “hoo but hairkomer?” (“who but Herkomer?”] beneath the picture space. I have not been able to identify the other caricatures. — George P. Landow

Related material: Other Punch Cartoons on Art and the Aesthetes

Looking at Works of Art

Life among the Aesthetes

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto Library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow.]

Last modified 10 May 2020