Sambourne, Edward Linley (DNB12)
SAMBOURNE, EDWARD LINLEY (1844–1910), artist in black and white, born at 15 Lloyd Square, Pentonville, London, on 4 Jan. 1844, was only surviving child of Edward Mott Sambourne, by his wife Frances Linley, of Norton, Derbyshire, a member of the well-known family to which Elizabeth Anne Linley, wife of Richard Brinsley Sheridan [q. v.] belonged [see Linley, Thomas, the elder]. His father's father had left England for the United States and had been naturalised an American citizen. His father, born at Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1802, eventually carried on a wholesale furrier's business in St. Paul's Churchyard, London.
Sambourne was educated at the City of London school (September 1855 to Easter 1856) and afterwards at Chester Training College school (1857–60). At the age of sixteen he entered as an apprentice the marine engine works of Messrs. John Penn & Son, Greenwich. He had already shown a talent for drawing, which was encouraged by his father's sister, Mrs. Barr, herself an accomplished artist; and at Greenwich he continued to amuse himself and his friends by drawing caricatures and fanciful sketches. In 1867 one of these drawings was shown by Sambourne's fellow apprentice, Alfred Reed, to his father, German Reed, who in turn submitted it to his friend Mark Lemon, the editor of 'Punch.' Mark Lemon found promise in it and offered the young artist work on 'Punch.' Sambourne's first drawing appeared in 'Punch,' 27 April 1867 (lii. 159). Retiring from Penn's works, he soon became a regular contributor, and was in 1871 made a full member of the staff. In the meantime he studied technique and had attended the School of Art at South Kensington, although only for a fortnight. In 'Punch' he was soon set to illustrate the 'Essence of Parliament,' and this work gradually developed in his hands into a second weekly cartoon. On Sir John Tenniel's retirement towards the end of 1900 Sambourne succeeded him as cartoonist-in-chief.
Sambourne also made his mark as an illustrator of books. He illustrated Sir Francis Burnand's 'New Sandford and Merton' (1872); James Lynam Molloy's 'Our Autumn Holiday on French Rivers' (1874), and the 1885 edition of Charles Kingsley's 'Water Babies,' which contains Samboume's best work in this line. In 1883 he designed and executed for the Fisheries Exhibition a diploma card which earned the enthusiastic praise of Tenniel (Spielmann, Hist. of Punch, p. 534). In 1900 he was one of the royal commissioners and sole juror for Great Britain in class 7 of the fine arts at the Paris exhibition.
In the autumn of 1909 Sambourne fell ill, and on 3 Nov. of that year his last cartoon appeared in 'Punch' (cxxxvii. 317). Two previously executed full-page drawings appeared in the 'Punch' almanack for 1910. He died at his home, 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, on 3 Aug. 1910, and his remains were buried, after cremation, in the graveyard of St. Peter's church, near Broadstairs.
Sambourne is entitled to a very high place among ’black-and-white' artists. His career as a contributor to 'Punch' extended over nearly forty-three years, and the marked growth of his powers may be studied in the pages of that journal. His youthful contributions show ingenuity and a certain grotesque humour, but little artistic merit. In his middle period the grotesqueness and the humour increased, with the addition of a great, but somewhat mechanical, vigour of execution. Only in his later period, fortunately a prolonged one, did he achieve that combination of artistic grace and dignity with an extraordinary firmness and delicacy of line which is the mark of his best work. He did not aim at Tenniel's massive simplicity, nor did his strength lie in the portrayal of living persons by way of caricature; but in imaginative designs, especially where his subject permitted him to introduce classically draped female figures, or where his ingenious and fertile fancy could invent and harmonise in a large and balanced composition a great variety of details, he was without a rival. So sure and accurate were his hand and eye that he could accomplish Giotto's feat of drawing a perfect circle. Fond of sport and outdoor exercise, Sambourne was a delightful companion noted for his bonhomie and good stories.
Sambourne married on 20 Oct. 1874 Marion, eldest daughter of Spencer Herapath, F.R.S., of Westwood, Thanet; by her he had a son, Mawdley Herapath, and a daughter, Maud Frances (Mrs. L. C. R. Messel), who has contributed sketches to 'Punch.' A portrait of Sambourne (1884), by Sir George Reid, R.S.A., is in the possession of the city of Aberdeen. A caricature portrait of him by Leslie Ward ('Spy') in 1882 is in the ’Punch' room.
[Punch, vols, lii.–cxxxviii.; Spielmann's History of Punch, 1895; Who's Who, 1910; The Times, 4 Aug. 1910; baptismal register, St. Philip's church, Clerkenwell.]