Dignity and Impudence. (Slightly altered from Landseer, and adapted to suit “The Times.”, Signed lower left. Possibly Alfred Walter Bayes RE RWS (1832-1909). Almost all the dozen other illustrators listed in Housfe worked decades later. 1865. Fun. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it.
This use of the small yippy dog barking at the dignified spaniel in Edward Landseer’s famous painting to suggest the relationship between the newly invented telegraph and established newspapers captures the way print journalists and observers saw the effects of the new technology, badly misunderstanding the radical effect of the new information technology upon newspapers. As Tom Standage pointed out in The Victorian Internet, during the Crimean War the ability of the telegraph to report events shortly after they occurred radically reconfigured newspapers, creating the modern notion of fast-breaking news. Whereas before the telegraph newspapers would store information from other sources, particularly other newspapers, and slowly dole it out as needed to fill pages, the telegraph’s ability to speed up the reporting of events created a desire to learn about events as quickly as possible and led to the importance of the newspaper scoop — of being the first with a story.
- Sir Edward Landseer RA (1802-1873)
- The Electric Telegraph, Telecommunications Wonder of the Railway Age: 1791 to 1852
- Communcations Networks: Postal Service, Telegraph, LAN, and Internet
[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of Florida library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
“Dignity and Impudence.” Fun. (14 January 1865). Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Web. 22 March 2016.
Houfe, Simon. The Dictionary of 19th Century Book Illustrators. 3rd ed. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Book Collectors Club, 1998.
Standage, Tom. The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s Online Pioneers. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998.
Last modified 1 May 2016