(click image to enlarge)
SIGNED WITH MONOGRAM
8 1/4 X 6 INCHES
ILLUSTRATED: PUNCH, 25 DECEMBER 1875, PAGE 267
EXHIBITED: 'THE ILLUSTRATORS. THE BRITISH ART OF ILLUSTRATION 1800-2013'
NOVEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014, NO 347
This cartoon demonstrates the burgeoning popularity of roller-skating in Victorian Britain. The first recorded use of roller skates was in a London stage performance in 1743. The origin and design of these skates is lost to history but in 1819, French inventor M Petitbled designed the first patented roller skate. These were similar to modern day inline skates, but were not very maneuverable, barely allowing the user to deviate from a straight line. The popularity of roller-skating began to grow after the creation of the first four-wheeled, turning roller skate in New York City by James Leonard Plimpton (1828-1911). These skates, pictured in Tenniel’s cartoon, were such a success that, with Plimpton’s support, the first public skating rink was opened in 1866 in Newport, Rhode Island. This was followed by a rink in New York shortly after. On 2 August 1875, London’s first roller-skating rink had opened on what is now Randolph Avenue, West London.