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Darwin Correspondence Project

4.12 'Fun', Wedding procession

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‘The wedding procession’ appeared in Fun magazine on March 25, 1871, and contained an amusing echo of the cartoon representing Darwin as ‘A venerable orang-outang’ that had appeared in the Hornet a few days earlier. The anonymous multi-figure drawing in Fun is actually a skit on the marriage of Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria, to the Marquis of Lorne, soon to become the Duke of Argyll. Lorne’s Scottishness, together with the fact that a royal princess was defying tradition by marrying a British nobleman rather than European royalty, provides the basis of the humour. Discomfited royal German suitors of the Princess are seen in the distance at the rear of the procession – ‘German sausages, cut out by haggis’. Even the British lion is wearing a kilt and sporran for ‘this occasion only’. As though to encapsulate the idea of incongruous alliances or miscegenation, at no. 6 in the procession winding towards us are ‘Dr. Darwin and our distinguished ancestor’ – an ape which is also wearing a kilt. The unknown artist has deliberately emphasised their intimacy (Darwin has his arm round his ape companion), and the supposed physiognomic similarities between them. This idea was subsequently developed in Fun with further cartoons of a semi-simian Darwin. 

Fun magazine was started in 1861 by Henry J. Byron, as a rival to the very successful Punch; it cost only one penny, as against Punch’s price of threepence. From 1865 onwards, it was edited by Tom Hood. A historian of Victorian literary magazines characterises Fun’s contributors at this period as ‘young, bohemian, and ebullient, where Punch was increasingly conservative’, and the irreverence of this cartoon bears out his appraisal.    

  • physical location Darwin archive, Cambridge University Library. Other copies are extant. 

  • accession or collection number DAR 140.4.2 

  • copyright holder Syndics of Cambridge University Library 

  • originator of image unknown. Signed by the firm of Dalziel, who owned Fun magazine, as engravers of the design. 

  • date of creation March 1871 

  • computer-readable date 1871-03-01 to 1871-03-24 

  • medium and material wood engraving 

  • references and bibliography Fun magazine (25 March 1871), p. 126. Alvin Sullivan (ed.), British Literary Magazines, vol. 3, The Victorian and Edwardian Age (Westport, Conn. and London: Greenwood Press, 1984), pp. 135-8. ‘Comic periodicals’ in J. Don Vann and Rosemary T. VanArsdell (eds), Victorian Periodicals and Victorian Society (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1994), pp. 278-290 (pp. 283, 285). Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. Volume II of a Biography (London: Jonathan Cape, 2002), pp. 375-6. Gowan Dawson, Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 59-60. Browne, ‘Darwin in caricature: a study in the popularization and dissemination of evolutionary theory’ in Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer (eds), The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinisms, and Visual Culture (Hanover, NH and London: Dartmouth College Press, University Press of New England, 2009), pp. 18-39 (pp. 24-5). 


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