The Queen

W.M. Thackeray

1855

Wood engraving, probably by William Linton

4½ x 2½ inches

Illustration for Thackeray’s The Rose and The Ring, p.7.

A typical caricature by Thackeray in which the head is too large and the tiny detail adds to the absurdist effect. Most amusing here are the crown embroidered on the handkerchief and the little bird perching on her rod of office. The overall impression is one of Lilliputian preciousness, the grand viewed through the toy-shop lens of the mock-heroic. The humour is what at the time of production would have been called ‘nonsense’, and its silliness still has the power to make us laugh.

Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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