John Leech

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John Leech
John Leech, (born Aug. 29, 1817, London, Eng.—died Oct. 29, 1864, London), English caricaturist notable for his contributions to Punch magazine.

Leech was educated at Charterhouse, where he met William Makepeace Thackeray, who was to be his lifelong friend. He then began to study medicine but soon drifted into the artistic profession and in 1835 published Etchings and Sketchings by A. Pen, Esq., comic character studies from the London streets.

In 1840 Leech began contributing to magazines with a series of etchings in Bentley’s Miscellany; he also collaborated with George Cruikshank, whose work his own resembled in both style and subject.

Later, however, he excluded the horrific and satirical elements present in the tradition of English caricature established in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson.

Leech developed in his caricatures a comfortable, warmly humorous middle-class urbanity, in which character is underlined by emphatic contrasts of stock types. These qualities emerge from the four etchings illustrating Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol (1844), the Comic History of England (1847–48), and the woodcuts for the Comic History of Rome (1852). These were followed by numerous etchings and woodcuts of sporting scenes in the novels of his friend R.S. Surtees.

Leech’s first contribution to Punch appeared in the issue of Aug. 7, 1841. This was the beginning of a fruitful connection that resulted in about 3,000 caricatures and other illustrations for the magazine.

Leech concentrated on social caricature, as in Pictures of Life and Character from the Collection of Mr. Punch (1854, 1860, and 1863).

Leech and the English illustrator Sir John Tenniel were the creators of the conventional image of John Bull—a jovial and honest Englishman, solid and foursquare, sometimes in a Union Jack waistcoat and with a bulldog at heel. He also contributed to Punch almanacs and pocketbooks, to Once a Week, and to The Illustrated London News, as well as to numerous novels and miscellaneous volumes.

Encyclopædia Britannica

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens

Marley’s Ghost

Ghosts of Departed Usurers

Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball

Scrooge Extinguishes the First
of the Three Spirits

Scrooge’s Third Visitor

Ignorance and Want

The Last of the Spirits

Scrooge and Bob Cratchit
"The Comic History of Rome"   Part I

Comic History of Rome Title

Romulus and Remus discovered by a gentle shepherd


Tarquinius Superbus makes himself King

Appius Claudius punished by the People

The gallant Curtius leaping into the gulfs

Pyrrhus arrives in Italy with his Troupe

Hannibal whilst even yet a child swears eternal hatred to the Romans

Flaminius restoring Liberty to Greece at the Isthmian Games

The Mother of the Gracchi

Marius discovered in the Marshes at Minturnae

Cicero denouncing Catiline


Aeneas and Anchises

Rhea Silvia

Romulus Consulting the Augury

Remus jumping over the Walls

Awful Appearance of the Shade of Remus to Romulus

The Romans walking off with the Sabine Women

Initial R

Numa Pompilius remembering the Grotto

Death of Cluilius