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Packing a punch for 160 years

Cartoon by John Leech, 1854

For 160 years, Punch magazine stood as a bastion of British satire. Six years after it closed its doors for the final time, an anthology of cartoons from its pages is being released.

Cartoon by George du Maurier, 1870

Punch was founded in 1841 by a group of writers and publishers who frequented the same London pubs and restaurants.

Cartoon by Linley Sanbourne, 1891

They met around a table, named The Mahogany Tree, to decide what should be in the next issue over a good meal and a few glasses of wine. The table is now in the British Library.

Cartoon by H W Murray, 1938

Although it began as a radical magazine, over the years Punch became something of a national institution and came to be associated with the upper echelons of society.

Cartoon by Pont, 1940

During the World War II, it was decided that Punch was so essential to British morale that its paper ration was increased.

Cartoon by Gerald Hoffnung, 1957

Its pages were punctuated by some of the great cartoonists of the 19th and 20th century including John Leech, Fougasse, Pont, Hoffnung and Peter Birkett

Cartoon by Mike Williams, 1969

The images often demonstrate a very British attitude to technological changes - from the advent of motoring to the coming of supersonic flight...

Cartoon by Ed McLachlan, 1969

... and reaction to the social upheavals of the day - from female suffrage to the summer of love.

Cartoon by Paul Crum, 1937

But not all the cartoons are satirical. One of the most famous cartoons in the collection are these hippos by Paul Crum.

Cartoon by Peter Birkett, 1981

The magazine's circulation began to dwindle in the early 1990s and in 1992 Punch ceased publication. Bought by Mohamed Al Fayed and restarted in 1996, Punch closed its doors for the final time in 2002.

Punch: Out for the count?
Friday, 31 May 2002, 16:01 GMT |  Newsmakers
Library purchases Punch archive
Saturday, 1 May 2004, 11:41 GMT |  Arts & Culture

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