Home > Artists > Sir Max Beerbohm > Artwork

(click image to enlarge)

Evenings in Printing House Square Lord Northcliffe: 'Help! Again I feel the demons of sensationalism rising in me. Hold me fast! Curb me, if you love me!'

Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)


Signed, inscribed with title and dated 1911

Pen ink and watercolour with pencil

12 ¼ x 15 ½ inches

The Times;
The Jeffrey Archer Political Cartoon Collection

Max Beerbohm, Fifty Caricatures, London: William Heinemann, 1913, No 38

Rupert Hart-Davis, A Catalogue of the Caricatures of Max Beerbohm, London: Macmillan, 1972, No 1118

NEAC, Winter 1911;
London Group, 1913;
'Pure Gold. 50 Years of the Federation of British Artists', Mall Galleries, 9-19 February 2011;
'The Long Nineteenth Century: Treasures and Pleasures', Chris Beetles Gallery, March-April 2014, No 143;
'The Illustrators. The British Art of Illustration 1894-2020', Chris Beetles Gallery, November 2020-January 2021, No 28

Evenings in Printing House Square

Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865-1922), was a powerful publishing magnate, who resuscitated unprofitable newspapers by making them popular to a mass market. He developed Amalgamated Press, the largest publishing empire in the world at the time, which included, among others: the
Evening News (acquired 1894), the Daily Mail (founded 1896), the Daily Mirror (founded 1903), the Observer (acquired 1905), The Times and The Sunday Times (both acquired 1908). The present caricature refers to that latest acquisition.

Harmsworth had a good working relationship with Max Beerbohm, providing articles and caricatures for his publications. In December 1896, Beerbohm had taken up the invitation of Harmsworth to write a regular column for the newly-founded
Daily Mail, on any subject that he wished. The results had, what one biographer of Beerbohm has called, ‘the kind of smart-alecky hook that Harmsworth liked’ (N John Hall, Max Beerbohm: A Kind of Life, London: Yale University Press, 2002, pages 50-51).

Following Harmsworth’s acquisition of the magazine,
Vanity Fair, eight years later, in 1904, Beerbohm contributed eight caricatures. Appearing between 1905 and 1909, they were initially signed with the pseudonyms, Ruth and Bilbo, Harmsworth thinking ‘it would be commercially better that people should wonder who the cartoonist was who drew so like [Beerbohm]’ (quoted in N John Hall, 1997, page 98). However, while admiring them, he ‘hesitated to publish them … because he thought them libellous’
(N John Hall, 2002, page 232).

In Autumn 1906, Harmsworth discovered that Beerbohm had never been to Italy, so suggested that he visit the country and write a series of travel articles for that newspaper. The trip changed the course of his life, as he became determined to live in Italy and, in 1910, did so, settling at Rapallo with his new wife, Florence.

Related Artwork