Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Spy a Lawyer . . .

We just acquired a terrific piece of art: an illustration of a lawyer, Serjeant John Humffreys Parry, created in 1873. The artist was Leslie Ward, a prolific English illustrator and caricaturist better known by his pen name, "Spy." Between 1873 and 1909, Spy drew many images of lawyers and judges for Vanity Fair magazine. His drawings - some flattering, others not so much - were accompanied by acerbic biographies that brought members of the legal profession down to size and proved immensely popular with the public.

Of our subject Serjeant John Humffreys Parry (1816-1880), Spy wrote that "he drapes himself in his gown with the movement of a Senator of melodrama . . . with these antecedents and talents it was natural that he should soon present himself as a Candidate for Parliament. . . . [H]e has great abilities, and by them has raised himself in his Profession to be quite one of its successful men, so that his is a name which gains much favour with Solicitors and gives much confidence to clients. . . . [H]e earns an income large enough to make any man a Conservative."

For more on Spy and his illustrations, see Morris L. Cohen, The Bench and Bar: Great Legal Caricatures from Vanity Fair by Spy.

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