C.1850–1872 Autograph Letter Signed by Tom Taylor (1817-1880), Punch Editor and English Playwright and Comic Writer.

Letter recommending artist P. Knight for membership in a society

Autograph letter signed marked “Private” by Tom Taylor (1817-1880), Punch editor and English playwright and comic writer, recommending artist P. Knight for membership in a society. Taylor here writes to J.N. Jenkins: “I admire so much the works of his I have seen that I feel much interested for him. He is as amiable and gentlemanlike qua man, as he is honest[?] & accomplished qua artist. I shall delight to see one more of the votaries of straight forward truth added to your society.” In closing Taylor adds “I hope to be a father in March.”

“[Tom Taylor] entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1837, was elected to a scholarship in 1838, and graduated BA in 1840 as junior optime in mathematics, being in the first class in the classical tripos. According to John Sheehan, Taylor was ‘the life of his College, and at the head of the intellectual fun of Trinity’ (Sheehan, 148). A member of the University Reform Club, and one of the Apostles, Taylor organized theatricals, and wrote for the Liberal Cambridge Independent, and for the short-lived Cambridge University Magazine. Elected a fellow of Trinity College in 1842, he proceeded MA in 1843. Taylor moved to London in 1844, where he served as professor of English at the University of London in 1845 and 1846, kept his terms at the Inner Temple, was called to the bar on 20 November 1846, and established himself as a dramatist and writer. Between 1844 and 1846, the Lyceum Theatre staged at least seven Taylor plays, including burlesques written with Albert Smith and with Charles Kenney, and his first major success, the 1846 comedy To Parents and Guardians. He was also composing leaders for the Morning Chronicle and the Daily News, and writing for Douglas Jerrold’s Illuminated Magazine and for the comic publication Puck. With his first contribution to Punch on 19 October 1844, he began a thirty-six year association with the magazine, which ended only with his death. Taylor made the northern circuit until 1850 when he became assistant secretary of the Board of Health [see above]. On its reorganization in 1854, he was appointed secretary, and when its functions were transferred to the local government act office in 1858, Taylor moved too. (He would retire in 1872.) During the 1850s he wrote or co-wrote over thirty comedies, extravaganzas, burlesques, farces, and pantomimes. ... The other great constant in Taylor’s literary life was Punch. During the 1840s he averaged roughly three columns a month; in the 1850s and 1860s this output doubled. His contributions were generally humorous commentary or comic verses on politics, civic news, and the manners of the day. When the first editor of Punch, Mark Lemon, died in 1870, Taylor became an unofficial assistant editor to Shirley Brooks, and when Brooks himself died in 1874, Taylor succeeded him. ... As The Times art critic from 1857, and The Graphic art critic during the 1870s, Taylor was second only to John Ruskin in prominence.” (ODNB)

Description: C.1850–1872 Autograph Letter Signed by Tom Taylor (1817-1880), Punch Editor and English Playwright and Comic Writer.

Whitehall [London], February 6, c. 1850–1872. [4]pp. A.L.S. Sm. 8vo. Bifolium; letterhead of “The General Board of Health, Whitehall.” Folds; very good.


Price: $50.00

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