The following is the third of several extracts from the author's "A Comic Empire: The Global Expansion of Punch as a Model Publication, 1841-1936," originally published in the International Journal of Comic Art 15/2 (Fall 2013): 6-35. We are grateful to Professor Scully for allowing us to reprint some passages from it here.The images in this part come from our own website. Please click on them to enlarge them, and for more information about them. — Jacqueline Banerjee

Two cartoons by Punch cartoonist href="../../../art/illustration/ravenhill/index.html">Leonard Raven-Hill. Right "Mail Day is the great day of the week" (1903). Left: Punch leapfrogs the globe in the Almanack of 1904.

It was the perception of Punch's status and importance — as well as its respectability (Miller, 2007 a) – that led to the London Charivari also being imitated throughout both the formal and the informal British Empire, and beyond. Across the globe, self-consciously British subjects sought to ape the fashions of "Home" in order to maintain their sense of class and of identity. What Ruti G. Khanduri has noted in the context of lndia is applicable across the Punchian Empire: "The satirical mode which was articulated through Punch in a literary and visual genre resolved and questioned social mores, politics, sexuality and several practices to construct the modes of conduct for the middle class" (474). For the vast and scattered British diaspora, Punch and papers like it were a key means of "transcend[ing] the imagined divide between metropole and colony" (Holdridge 21).

Related Material


Holdridge, Christopher Arthur. "Sam Sly's African Journal and the Role of Satire in Colonial British Identity at the Cape of Good Hope, c.l840- 1850." Unpublished MA thesis, 2010. Cape Town: Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town.

Khanduri, Ritu G. 2009. "Vernacular Punches: Cartoons and Politics in Colonial India." History and Anthropology. 20/4 (December 2009): 459-486.

Miller, Henry J. "John Leech and the Shaping of the Victorian Cartoon: The Context of Respectability." Victorian Periodicals Review. 42/3 (Fall 2009): 267-291.

Created 15 August 2019