Ca. 1850. An accomplished original pencil sketch by prolific British caricaturist and illustrator John Leech [1817-1864]. Leech is most famous for his association with Punch magazine.
Punch was a humorous 19th century magazine with engravings of wit and humor, with many plates. Thackeray exclaimed, "This book is better than plum-cake at Christmas." Punch is one of the great visual repositories of mid- Victorian English life and humor.
The drawing dubbed 'Smuggler's Reunion', depicts a gang of smugglers with one cut-throat sitting on a table brandishing a bottle, another breaks the neck of another bottle with a pistol, two others are eating at table, swag lying in foreground. Leech has sketched in pencil highlighting of the coat of the central smuggler so as to draw attention to him.
If not for Punch, the sketch is possibly for 'Bentley's Miscellany', the British literary magazine published between 1836 and 1868, for which Charles Dickens was the first editor, serializing 'Oliver Twist' in it.
Size is 6.5" x 8.5" Sketch paper laid on to board. Very good condition. Item #19186