CHARLES KEENE (1823-1891)

Charles Keene

Charles Samuel Keene (1823-1891)


Becoming associated, from the 1860s, with his Punch cartoons of urban street life, Charles Keene developed a great reputation as a draughtsman, and read more...

Charles Keene
Charles Samuel Keene (1823-1891)

Becoming associated, from the 1860s, with his Punch cartoons of urban street life, Charles Keene developed a great reputation as a draughtsman, and was revered by many of his contemporaries.

Charles Keene was born in Hornsey, Middlesex, on 10 August 1823, and spent his childhood in London and Ipswich, where he was educated at the local grammar school. He spent some time in the offices of both his late solicitor father, at Furnivall’s Inn, London, and the architect, William Pilkington of Scotland Yard. However, finding neither congenial, he entered a five-year apprenticeship with the wood-engravers, the Whymper Brothers. In addition, he was ‘a compulsive attender’ of the Clipstone Academy, from 1848 into the 1860s.

Keene illustrated books from 1847 and contributed to The Illustrated London News, but it was only in December 1851, when he made his first, unsigned drawing for Punch, that he found the ideal outlet for his talents. It was a connection that lasted until the day of his death and, from the time he began to use his monogram in 1854, it brought him great celebrity. Keene became a member of the Punch ‘Table’ in 1860 and, on the death of John Leech in 1864, took on the role of chief social commentator; he relied principally on urban street life, thus complementing the drawings of George Du Maurier, who was employed from the same year. He greatly inspired Phil May, who was in some ways his successor, but Keene was less intrinsically funny and made much use of comic situations supplied by his friend Joseph Crawhall senior. His influence lay for the most part in the areas of style and technique and, as an admirer and correspondent of
Adolf Menzel, he did much to introduce the German tradition of draughtsmanship into Britain. Praised by the French, and working late in life in a style reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec, he has been described with some justification as ‘the English Daumier’ (Ray 1976, page 118). Whistler went further and called him ‘the greatest English artist since Hogarth’ (quoted in Pennell 1889, page 236). The Fine Art Society mounted a memorial exhibition two months after his death at his home in Hammersmith Road, London, on 4 January 1891.

His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, Tate and the V&A; and the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) and The Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge).

Further reading:
Simon Houfe,
Charles Keene. ‘the Artist’s Artist’ 1823-1891, London: Christie’s/Punch, 1991; Simon Houfe, ‘Keene, Charles Samuel (1823-1891)’, H C G Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, vol 31, pages 29-32; Simon Houfe, The Work of Charles Samuel Keene, London: Scolar Press, 1995; Derek Hudson, Charles Keene, London: Pleiades Books, 1947; Lewis Johnson, ‘Keene, Charles (Samuel) (b London, 10 Aug 1823; d London, 4 Jan 1891)’, Jane Turner (ed), The Dictionary of Art, London: Macmillan, 1996, vol 17, page 877

Domestic PoliticsTeaArmed ForcesHumour & Satire
CartoonsPoliticsLawReligion
FiguresDeath & FuneralRestaurants, Bars, PubsArtist Portraits
RidingIllustrations  
A MISCONCEPTION 
PASSENGER: 	'AND WHOSE HOUSE IS THAT ON THE TOP OF THE HILL THERE?'
DRIVER OF THE 'RED LION' BUS:  'O, THAT'S MR UMBERBROWN'S, SIR. HE'S WHAT THEY CALL A R.A.'
PASSENGER (AMATEUR ARTIST):  'O, INDEED! AH! A MAGNIFICENT PAINTER! 
		YOU MUS by CHARLES KEENE

A MISCONCEPTION PASSENGER: 'AND WHOSE HOUSE IS THAT ON THE TOP OF THE HILL THERE?' DRIVER OF THE 'RED LION' BUS: 'O, THAT'S MR UMBERBROWN'S, SIR. HE'S WHAT THEY CALL A R.A.' PASSENGER (AMATEUR ARTIST): 'O, INDEED! AH! A MAGNIFICENT PAINTER! YOU MUS

'HEAR! HEAR!'
EX-MP ('CHUCKED' IN THE LAST ELECTION) 'I WORKED 'ARD FOR THE BOROUGH ALL THE SESSION IN THE 'OUSE   SO I WASN'T WHATCH'ERMAYCALL MERELY A ORNAMENTAL MEMBER!' by CHARLES KEENE

'HEAR! HEAR!' EX-MP ('CHUCKED' IN THE LAST ELECTION) 'I WORKED 'ARD FOR THE BOROUGH ALL THE SESSION IN THE 'OUSE SO I WASN'T WHATCH'ERMAYCALL MERELY A ORNAMENTAL MEMBER!'

A PROTEST
STEWARD (FOR THE THIRD OR FOURTH TIME). 'BAS'N, SIR? BAS'N, MISS?'
AMERICAN PASSENGER. 'I SAY, STEE-U-ARD, IF YOU KEEP TEMPTING US WITH THOSE LITTLE DISHES, WE SHAN'T BE ABLE TO RE-SIST   WHAT  !' by CHARLES KEENE

A PROTEST STEWARD (FOR THE THIRD OR FOURTH TIME). 'BAS'N, SIR? BAS'N, MISS?' AMERICAN PASSENGER. 'I SAY, STEE-U-ARD, IF YOU KEEP TEMPTING US WITH THOSE LITTLE DISHES, WE SHAN'T BE ABLE TO RE-SIST  WHAT !'

CONCLUSIVE!
UNSEATED M P (INDIGNANTLY) 'ACTUALLY CHARGED ME WITH BRIBERY!'
FRIENDS 'BUT DIDN'T YOU DENY IT?'
THE UNSEATED 'CERTAINLY   MOST EMPHATICALLY   BUT   THEY AH   PROVED IT!!' by CHARLES KEENE

CONCLUSIVE! UNSEATED M P (INDIGNANTLY) 'ACTUALLY CHARGED ME WITH BRIBERY!' FRIENDS 'BUT DIDN'T YOU DENY IT?' THE UNSEATED 'CERTAINLY MOST EMPHATICALLY  BUT THEY AH PROVED IT!!'

A GOOD LISTENER
REVD GENTN: 'WELL TIM, DID YOU LEAVE THE LETTER AT THE SQUIRE'S?'
TIM: 'I DID, YOUR RIV'RENCE, I B'LIEVE THEY'RE HAVIN' DINNER COMPANY TODAY  '
REVD GENTN (ANGRILY): 'WHAT BUSINESS HAD YOU TO BE LISTENING ABOUT. HOW OFTEN I'VE TOLD YOU  '
 by CHARLES KEENE

A GOOD LISTENER REVD GENTN: 'WELL TIM, DID YOU LEAVE THE LETTER AT THE SQUIRE'S?' TIM: 'I DID, YOUR RIV'RENCE, I B'LIEVE THEY'RE HAVIN' DINNER COMPANY TODAY ' REVD GENTN (ANGRILY): 'WHAT BUSINESS HAD YOU TO BE LISTENING ABOUT. HOW OFTEN I'VE TOLD YOU '

COUNSEL'S OPINION
JUDGE (TESTILY, TO PERSISTENT JUNIOR): SIR IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE AS A GENTLEMAN IN COURT, I CAN'T TEACH YOU!'
JUNIOR (POINTEDLY): QUITE SO, MY LUD, QUITE SO! [PROCEEDS] by CHARLES KEENE

COUNSEL'S OPINION JUDGE (TESTILY, TO PERSISTENT JUNIOR): SIR IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE AS A GENTLEMAN IN COURT, I CAN'T TEACH YOU!' JUNIOR (POINTEDLY): QUITE SO, MY LUD, QUITE SO! [PROCEEDS]

SELF PORTRAIT by CHARLES KEENE

SELF PORTRAIT

THE LADIES' TEA ROOMS by CHARLES KEENE

THE LADIES' TEA ROOMS

OFFICERS' GRIEVANCES
LIEUTENANT DE BOGEYNS (OF THE ELEVENTY HALF-DOZENTH NB BOUNCIBLES, ORDERED TO THE GOLD COAST): 'PLAGUY NUISANCE, YOU KNOW, MAJOR! 'TISN'T THE SCWIMMAGE ONE MINDS   ENJOY THAT   IT'S THE BEASTLY CLIMATE. AND WHAT I DO COMPLAIN OF IS, T by CHARLES KEENE

OFFICERS' GRIEVANCES LIEUTENANT DE BOGEYNS (OF THE ELEVENTY HALF-DOZENTH NB BOUNCIBLES, ORDERED TO THE GOLD COAST): 'PLAGUY NUISANCE, YOU KNOW, MAJOR! 'TISN'T THE SCWIMMAGE ONE MINDS ENJOY THAT IT'S THE BEASTLY CLIMATE. AND WHAT I DO COMPLAIN OF IS, T

BEWILDERING
MR WUZZLES (UP FOR THE CATTLE SHOW). 'CHEESE, WAITER!'
ROBERT. 'YESSIR! ROCKFOR, COMMONBARE, GREW'ERE, NOOCHATTELL, GORGUMZO   ' 
MR WUZZLES (TESTILY). 'NO, NO! I SAID CHEESE!' by CHARLES KEENE

BEWILDERING MR WUZZLES (UP FOR THE CATTLE SHOW). 'CHEESE, WAITER!' ROBERT. 'YESSIR! ROCKFOR, COMMONBARE, GREW'ERE, NOOCHATTELL, GORGUMZO ' MR WUZZLES (TESTILY). 'NO, NO! I SAID CHEESE!'

THE ENEMY
HORRID BOY (TO NEWLY-APPOINTED VOLUNTEER MAJOR, WHO FINDS THE MILITARY SEAT VERY AWKWARD): 'SIT FURTHER BACK, GENERAL! YOU'LL MAKE HIS 'EAD ACHE!' by CHARLES KEENE

THE ENEMY HORRID BOY (TO NEWLY-APPOINTED VOLUNTEER MAJOR, WHO FINDS THE MILITARY SEAT VERY AWKWARD): 'SIT FURTHER BACK, GENERAL! YOU'LL MAKE HIS 'EAD ACHE!'

PRESENCE OF MIND
CONSTABLES (IN CHORUS): 'HOY! HULLO! STOP! TURN BACK THERE! CAN'T COME THROUGH THE PARK.' 
ELDERLY FEMALE (IN A HURRY TO CATCH A TRAIN): 'P'LICEMAN, I'M THE 'OME SECRETARY!!!'
SERGEANT OF POLICE (TAKEN ABACK): 'OH, I BEG YOUR PARDON, I'M  by CHARLES KEENE

PRESENCE OF MIND CONSTABLES (IN CHORUS): 'HOY! HULLO! STOP! TURN BACK THERE! CAN'T COME THROUGH THE PARK.' ELDERLY FEMALE (IN A HURRY TO CATCH A TRAIN): 'P'LICEMAN, I'M THE 'OME SECRETARY!!!' SERGEANT OF POLICE (TAKEN ABACK): 'OH, I BEG YOUR PARDON, I'M

BEWARE!
HE (POETICAL): 'OH AMANDA! WHY DO YOU SHRINK FROM MY EMBRACE AS THE STARTLED FAWN TREMBLES AT THE RUSTLING OF THE AUTUMN LEAVES? WHY  '
SHE: 'CAUSE I'VE JUST BEEN VACCINATED!' by CHARLES KEENE

BEWARE! HE (POETICAL): 'OH AMANDA! WHY DO YOU SHRINK FROM MY EMBRACE AS THE STARTLED FAWN TREMBLES AT THE RUSTLING OF THE AUTUMN LEAVES? WHY ' SHE: 'CAUSE I'VE JUST BEEN VACCINATED!'

ONE OF THE MOST ELEGANTEST DINNER OF THE WHOLE SEASON WAS GIVEN LAST THURSDAY WEEK BY THE FISHMONGERS GILL by CHARLES KEENE

ONE OF THE MOST ELEGANTEST DINNER OF THE WHOLE SEASON WAS GIVEN LAST THURSDAY WEEK BY THE FISHMONGERS GILL

AU REVOIR by CHARLES KEENE

AU REVOIR

MIXED PICKLES
DOMESTIC (IN TERRIFIED ACCENTS). 'O, MUM, HERE'S MASTER PLANTAG'N'T, HAS BEEN AND BROKE HIS GRAN'PA'S INK-BOTTLE IN THE LIBRARY, AND CUT HIS FINGER DREADFUL, 'M!!'
GRANDMAMMA'S DARLING (GLEEFULLY ALLUDING TO HIS NASAL ORGAN). 'AND GOT A MARB by CHARLES KEENE

MIXED PICKLES DOMESTIC (IN TERRIFIED ACCENTS). 'O, MUM, HERE'S MASTER PLANTAG'N'T, HAS BEEN AND BROKE HIS GRAN'PA'S INK-BOTTLE IN THE LIBRARY, AND CUT HIS FINGER DREADFUL, 'M!!' GRANDMAMMA'S DARLING (GLEEFULLY ALLUDING TO HIS NASAL ORGAN). 'AND GOT A MARB

THE TRIALS OF A DISTRICT VISITOR
THE HONBLE MRS FUZBUZ: IS MRS HIGGINS WITHIN?
MRS TOMKINS: I'LL CALL'ER MUM
	             (AT THE TOP OF HER VOICE) MRS IG_GINS! ER'S THE PERSON WITH THE TRAC'S
                       (TO THE HON BLE MRS) THE LADY WILL BE  by CHARLES KEENE

THE TRIALS OF A DISTRICT VISITOR THE HONBLE MRS FUZBUZ: IS MRS HIGGINS WITHIN? MRS TOMKINS: I'LL CALL'ER MUM (AT THE TOP OF HER VOICE) MRS IG_GINS! ER'S THE PERSON WITH THE TRAC'S (TO THE HON BLE MRS) THE LADY WILL BE

'WHENEVER ORDERS ARE RECEIVED FROM PARTIES PAINFULLY BEREAVED'  
VISITOR (TO FRIEND LATELY LEFT A WIDOWER). 'HELLO, TOM! THAT LOOKS A STIFFISH BILL YOU'VE GOT THERE!'
TOM. 'AH, HOW THOSE RASCALS OF UNDERTAKERS DO FLEECE YOU! THEY KNOW YOU CAN HARDLY HELP  by CHARLES KEENE

'WHENEVER ORDERS ARE RECEIVED FROM PARTIES PAINFULLY BEREAVED' VISITOR (TO FRIEND LATELY LEFT A WIDOWER). 'HELLO, TOM! THAT LOOKS A STIFFISH BILL YOU'VE GOT THERE!' TOM. 'AH, HOW THOSE RASCALS OF UNDERTAKERS DO FLEECE YOU! THEY KNOW YOU CAN HARDLY HELP

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS.
LITTLE NEPHEW. 'UNCLE YOU MUST BE A SORT O' CANNIBAL, I -'
UNCLE (ON A VISIT). 'A WHAT, SIR ! ? WHA'D'YER MEAN, SIR?'
NEPHEW. 'CAUSE MA' SAID, YOU WAS ALWAYS LIVIN' ON SOMEBODY ! ' by CHARLES KEENE

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS. LITTLE NEPHEW. 'UNCLE YOU MUST BE A SORT O' CANNIBAL, I -' UNCLE (ON A VISIT). 'A WHAT, SIR ! ? WHA'D'YER MEAN, SIR?' NEPHEW. 'CAUSE MA' SAID, YOU WAS ALWAYS LIVIN' ON SOMEBODY ! '

ON THE MART by CHARLES KEENE

ON THE MART

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