Increased facilities are provided for Ladies dining, &c., with Members, by Harry Furniss, illustrating the "Essence of Parliament" series by Henry William Lucy (1843-1924) in Punch. The picture purports to be a sketch of the proceedings in the House of Commons "taken on the spot" to illustrate an extract from the diary of "Toby M. " [Click on the image to enlarge it.]


In the top left-hand corner, the smoking room is shown as deserted. A "family party," complete with Gladstone seated at table, with a "chop and chips" being uncovered in front of him, and children on the floor with a pot of jam, is taking place below it instead. " The Irish Party" is having a knees-up, or enjoying some Irish dancing in the lower left-hand part of the circle. Henry Lucy's text below deals with a more serious topic: it makes capital of Parnell's wanting to raise the matter of parliamentary privilege in connection with the wrongful arrest of the staunch Irish nationalist and MP, William O'Brien (1852-1928), who had been "shamefully treated" according to his doctor ("Election Intelligence"), in an incident that was very much in the news at the time.

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Image capture and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the source and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Bull, Phili "O'Brien, William (1852–1928), journalist and Irish nationalist." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 20 April 2015.

"Election Intelligence." The Times. Thursday 23 February 1888: 6. Times Digital Archive. Web. 20 April 2015.

Grimsditch, H. B., rev. H. C. G. Matthew. "Lucy, Sir Henry William (1843–1924), journalist." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 19 April 2015.

"Increased facilities are provided for Ladies dining, &c., with Members" in the "Essence of Parliament." Punch, Vol. XCIV (1888), 25 February 1888: 95. Internet Archive. Contributed by Robarts Library, University of Toronto. Web. 20 April 2015.

Created 20 April 2015

Last modified 26 January 2020