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'Hare Skins! Rabbit Skins!' Ben (the Old 'Expert') 'Not Quite the "Entire Animal", William, Eh?'

Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914)


Signed with monogram and dated 1880
Inscribed with title and publication details on original mount
Signed and inscribed with title and 'an original sketch for the
Punch cartoon (finished)' on reverse of original mount on reverse
of original mount


8 ¼ x 6 ¼ inches

Mary Green (née Tenniel), the artist's sister, and thence by descent

Punch, 11 September 1880, Page 115

'The Illustrators. the British Art of Illustration 1870-2010', Chris Beetles Gallery, November 2010-January 2011, No 53;
'Three Centuries of Cartoon Art', Nunnington Hall, April-June 2011;
'The Spring Show', Chris Beetles Gallery, February-April 2012, No 451;
'Ruskin's Artists', Chris Beetles Gallery, 12 February-2 March 2019;
Comedy and Commentary, Mottisfont,
18 January - 11 April 2020

'Sir Willliam Harcourt's Ground-Game Bill (commonly called the 'Hares and Rabbits Bill') had at last been permitted to pass the Lords, but only after much mutilation. – September, 1880'

On 27 May 1880, the Liberal Home Secretary, Sir William Harcourt (1827-1904), had introduced into the Commons the first reading of a bill ‘for the better protection of land against injury to crops from hares and rabbits’. By the time it became the Ground Game Act on 7 September, it had been much weakened – as is indicated by the caption to the present cartoon. However, Disraeli had actually encouraged the Conservative members of the House of Lords to accept it, and reserve their strength for more important issues.

Tenniel represents Harcourt as an urban street seller of hare and rabbit skins, such sellers and buyers being a common sight on the streets of Victorian London, and described by Henry Mayhew in his London Labour and the London Poor (1851). Disraeli is dressed as a countryman, suggesting greater first-hand experience of leporids.

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