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Harry Furniss: Biography

Harry Furniss (1854-1925) was a nineteenth century caricaturist and illustrator who became one of the originators of the satire movement in this country. He was born in Ireland and came to London at the age of nineteen where his prodigious draftsmanship saw him join the ranks of Punch Magazine. Since the release of its first edition in 1841, Punch had become part of the nation's psyche selling 6,000 copies a week. It was an era when the political establishment began to be judged satirically for comedic effect. Furniss excelled in such an atmosphere and his Parliamentary cartoons titled 'Essence of Parliament' did not spare the likes of Gladstone, Disraeli and Parnell. Over a fourteen year period working for Punch, Furniss produced over 2500 drawings before leaving to start his own publication Lika Joko. Unfortunately it could not emulate previous successes but his career would continue to flourish as he achieved the accolade of a Royal Academy exhibition and collaborations with Lewis Carroll & Thomas Edison. He retired to Hastings in his later years and passed away in January 1925.