by “Spy”


By: Leslie Ward (“Spy”)

Vanity Fair [London]

(Print: 9 x 14 1/4 inches) (Framed: 17 x 23 inches)

Item Number: 207798



The first and most famous “Vanity Fair” Churchill print of them all, a caricature by Leslie Ward (who signed himself “Spy”) that appeared in Vanity Fair magazine on 27 September 1900; just after Churchill’s return to England following his American speaking tour that capitalized on his headline-making escape from the Boers, and just before Churchill’s first General Election victory as the Conservative candidate for Oldham.

This is an original print from Vanity Fair magazine. It measures 9 x 14 1/4 inches and is in very good condition, with a gentle crease center-left and a very short border tear, not affecting the image. The print is museum matted and sumptuously framed (17 x 23 inches overall). The profile of Churchill that ran in the magazine with the print is also preserved in a plastic sleeve on the frame verso. Headlined: “Men of the Day,” it was written by Vanity Fair’s founder, Thomas Gibson Bowles, who signed himself: “Jehu Junior.” Of the 24-year old Churchill, Bowles wrote: “He can write and he can fight…He is something of a sportsman; he prides himself on being practical rather than a dandy; he is ambitious; he means to get on and he loves his country. But he can hardly be the slave of any party.”

LESLIE WARD [”Spy”] (1851-1922) entered the Royal Academy school out of Eton in 1871. The painter Sir John Everett Millais brought him to the attention of Vanity Fair, which was looking for a new caricaturist. Under his “Spy” nome de plume, Ward became a regular contributor beginning in 1873. His caricatures of notables, from politicians, judges and generals to authors and musicians were reproduced widely as lithographic prints that still have vast circulation as collectibles. He was knighted in 1918.