Hugh de Morville, Lord of Cunningham and Lauderdale
Hugh de Morville (died 1162) was a Norman knight who made his fortune in the service of David fitz Malcolm. Prince of the Cumbrians (1113-24) and King of Scots (1124-53).
His parentage is said by some to be unclear, but G. W. S. Barrow. in his "Anglo-Norman era" states: "it seems probable that the father of William, and the first Hugh de Morville, was the Richard de Morville who witnessed charters by Richard de Redvers for Montebourg and the church of St. Mary in the castle of Néhou in the early twelfth century." [Barrow, pp. 70–71n. ]
Hugh came from Morville in the Cotentin Peninsula. territory controlled by David since it had been given to him by King Henry I of England some time after 1106. It must have been sometime soon after 1106 that Hugh joined David's small French household followers and military retinue. In 1113 David became Earl of Huntingdon-Northampton (by marriage) and Prince of the Cumbrians, after forcing his brother Alexander. King of Scots, to hand over territory in southern "Scotland". [Richard Oram, "David: The King Who Made Scotland", (Gloucestershire, 2004), pp. 59–63; A.A.M. Duncan, "Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom", (Edinburgh, 1975), pp. 134, 217–8, 223. ] David achieved this with his French followers [A.O. Anderson, "Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286", (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson (ed.), (Stamford, 1991), p. 193. ]
David endowed Hugh with the estates of Bozeat and Whissendine from his Huntingdon earldom, cite web | author = Keith Stringer | title = Morville, Hugh de (d. 1162) | work = Oxford Dictionary of National Biography | publisher = Oxford University Press | year = 2004 | | url = http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/19378 | doi = 10.1093/ref:odnb/19378 | accessdate = 2006-11-27 ] and the baronies of Lauderdale and (perhaps later) Cunningham in Scotland. [G.W.S. Barrow, "Beginnings of Military Feudalism", p. 251; Keith Stringer, "Early Lords of Lauderdale", in Keith Stringer (ed.), "Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland", (Edinburgh, 1985), pp. 46-7, implies that he got his English possessions first, but his patron David acquired his English and southern 'Scottish' possessions at the same time, and there is no evidence that he granted out his English possessions before granting out his Scottish possessions. ] During David's take-over of northern England after 1136, Hugh was also given the lordship of Appleby - essentially northern Westmorland. [Keith Stringer, "Morville, Hugh de (d. 1162)"; G.W.S. Barrow, "The Scots and the North of England", p. 138. ] After the death of Edward, Constable of Scotland. almost certainly in 1138 at the Battle of the Standard. Hugh was given this position. [Sir Archibald Lawrie, "Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153", (Glasgow, 1905), p. 379. ]
In 1150 Hugh made a further mark on the history of southern Scotland by founding Dryburgh Abbey for Premonstratensian canons regular. [D.E.R. Watt, & N.F. Shead, (eds.), "The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries", The Scottish Record Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001), p. 101. ] Hugh eventually retired there as a canon, soon before his death in 1162. [Keith Stringer, "Early Lords of Lauderdale", p. 46. ] An ancient memorial to him in the South wall is said to mark his burial-place.
Hugh married Beatrice, the heiress of Houghton Conquest. and daughter of Robert de Beauchamp, a son of Hugh de Beauchamp of Bedford. They had at least two sons and two daughters, including his successor, Richard de Morville. Another son, Hugh de Morville, Lord of Westmorland. was a principal player in the assassination of Thomas Becket. Archbishop of Canterbury. He subsequently fell out of favour with the king and was forfeited (1174) when the Lordship of Westmorland (which he had inherited from his father who had received it from David I ) was granted to his sister, Maud. Hugh II's other sister, Joan (d.1247), married Richard, a younger son of Ralph Gernon of Bakewell, Derbyshire.Fact|date=February 2007
* Anderson, Alan Orr "Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286", (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Anderson (ed.) (Stamford, 1991)
* Barrow, G.W.S.. "The Anglo-Norman Era in Scottish History", Oxford, 1980, p.71n.
* Barrow, G. W. S. "Beginnings of Military Feudalism", in G.W.S. Barrow (ed.), "The Kingdom of the Scots", (Edinburgh, 2003), pp. 250–78
* Barrow, G. W. S. (editor) "The Scots and the North of England" in "The Kingdom of the Scots", (Edinburgh, 2003), pp. 130–47
* Duncan, A.A.M.. "Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom", (Edinburgh, 1975)
* Lawrie, Sir Archibald, "Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153", (Glasgow, 1905)
* Oram, Richard. "David: The King Who Made Scotland", (Gloucestershire, 2004)
* Stringer, Keith, "Early Lords of Lauderdale", in Keith Stringer (ed.), "Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland", (Edinburgh, 1985), pp. 44–71
* Stringer, Keith, "Morville, Hugh de (d. 1162)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/19378, accessed 27 Nov 2006 ]
* Watt, D.E.R. & Shead, N.F. (eds.), "The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries", The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001)
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Hugh de Morville, Lord of Westmorland — Hugh de Morville (died c. 1202) was an Anglo Norman knight who served King Henry II of England in the late 12th century. He is chiefly infamous as one of the assassins of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. He held the title Lord of… … Wikipedia
Hugh de Morville — There are several historical British persons with the name Hugh (or Hugo) de Morvile (Moreville, Morville).*A Hugh de Moreville is said to have come over with William the Conqueror. However, according to Professor G. W. S. Barrow, an expert on… … Wikipedia
Richard de Morville — (d.1189), succeeded his father Hugh de Morville (d.1162) as Lord of Cunningham, Lord of Lauderdale and Constable of Scotland. In addition to his Scottish estates, Richard de Morville also held his father s lands at Bozeat in Northamptonshire, and … Wikipedia
Hugues de Morville (l'aîné) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hugues de Morville. Ruines de l abbaye de Dryburg qu il fonde entre 1150 et 1152. Hugues de Morville (mort en 1162), lord de Lauderdale et probablement de … Wikipédia en Français
Dervorguilla of Galloway — 19th century portrait of Dervorguilla. Sweetheart Abbey, nr Dumfries … Wikipedia
Donnchadh, Earl of Carrick — Donnchadh ( Duncan ) Mormaer or Earl of Carrick A 19th century reproduction of an impression of Donnchadh s seal, surviving from a Melrose charter, depicting [according to antiquarian Henry Laing] a winged dragon ; … Wikipedia
Dryburgh Abbey — Monastery information Order Premonstratensian Established 1150 … Wikipedia
The Revd Hugh Bruce Cunningham (1694–1790) was a colourful but ruthless Scottish dominie or minister who was excommunicated by order of the Pope for heresy and for "inflicting great slaughter in battle". He and his son, Roderick, both refused knighthoods from King George III. He may have been one of the first people to decline a British honour .
The distinctive arms given to The Revd Sir Hugh Cunningham
According to legend, Cunningham was the direct descendant of a Norwegian Thane or King of great power and influence whose descendants sailed across the North Sea to Scotland in the 16th century (the name 'Cunningham' means 'home of the King' in Anglo-Saxon ). However, it is almost certain he was really the descendant of Alexander Cunningham, 1st Earl of Glencairn. and a close relative of The Rt Revd Gabriel Cunningham, Moderator of the Church of Scotland a few decades before his birth. His father was The Revd Donald Cunningham, a ruthlessly strict dominie or minister (who was reputed to "thrash any of his congregation who would not contribute one-tenth of his earning to the kirk, or who had not committed the Presbyterian creeds to memory") and his wife Isobel Gordon. Hugh was "of a fiery disposition", as ruthless as his father, and "if wronged would soundly thrash his foe then forgive him". He married Helen Bruce.
For their loyalty to the Protestant cause, he and his son were offered knighthoods by George III, and were granted coats of arms. George III was particularly staunch in his Protestant beliefs, like Hugh and Roderick, refusing to emancipate Catholics and declaring to his Prime Minister:
"Where is the power on Earth to absolve me from the observance of every sentence of that Coronation oath, particularly the one requiring me to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion? … No, no, I had rather beg my bread from door to door throughout Europe, than consent to any such measure. I can give up my crown and retire from power. I can quit my palace and live in a cottage. I can lay my head on a block and lose my life, but I cannot break my oath."
Both refused the offer and sent back the escutcheon (shown below), in protest at having to take the oath of fealty by kissing the Bible. They would only "swear with uplifted hand", in accordance with Jesus' teaching in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 5:33-37 ). This was taken as an insult to the throne and all official records of the family were stricken off. The English government also insisted that henceforth all English 'Cunninghams' spell the name 'Conyngham', so as to dissociate themselves from Hugh and his son.
The coat of arms presented to 'Sir Hugh' and 'Sir Roderick' had as its principle tinctures orange and purple, in reference to William III who was Protestant Prince of Orange, and the colours later became associated with the Orange Order. The crossed axe and broadsword represent the skill with which both Hugh and Roderick used the weapons, and the gold stars represented Hugh's eight great-uncles who were known as the "fighting devils" and lived with the Clan Cameron. The motto, 'No Quarter', was the battle cry of the Cunninghams and derives from Hugh's great-grandfather Cairn, who 'gave no quarter', i.e. he did not tolerate his enemies.
Outlawed by the throne, Hugh fled from Scotland to the town of Wexford in Ireland after having killed six of the Clan MacGregor for stealing their cattle. They later moved to Derry in the north of Ireland.
Contemporary anxieties about childhood have often fuelled the incentive into historical research on the subject, with childhood enjoying a high status in our social, political and cultural debates. This has been reflected in what can be described as a ‘lively field’ of historical investigation. aiming to give us a wider perspective on the changing conceptions of childhood, and an understanding of the experiences of children through time. The publication of Philippe Ariès’ L’enfant et la vie familiale sous l’ancien regime in 1960 helped to stimulate an upsurge of interest in the field, with Ariès managing to convince most of his readers that childhood had a history, and that ideas about childhood and the experience of being a child had changed over time and in different cultures.
In this area of study, there has often been a belief that the ‘true nature’ of childhood emerged in the eighteenth century, and has since been established as a norm in Western European societies. Many of our modern ideas about childhood are indebted to eighteenth century thinkers, such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and many of our modern perceptions of childish ‘nature’ can be embodied in art of the time, such as that of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Jean-Baptiste Greuze. It is therefore unsurprising that we often locate the discovery of childhood in this century, as it seems to symbolise the origin of our contemporary beliefs. Many historians repudiate this ‘true nature’ approach; Colin Heywood considers childhood not as ‘a timeless category waiting in the wings of history to be discovered’. but as a cultural construct which is deeply determined by its historical, social and economic context. Distinctions are also drawn between the history of ch.
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Anja Muller ‘Fashioning Childhood in the Eighteenth Century’ (2006) pp.5
Hugh Cunningham ‘Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500’ (2005) pp.17
Gerrard Winstanley ‘Education of mankind, in Schools and Trades’ Chapter 5 (1652)
Anthony Flectcher ‘Gender, Sex and Subordination in England, 1500-1800’ (1999) pp. 217
Hugh Cunninham ‘The Invention of Childhood’ (2006) pp.66
William Sloane ‘Children’s Books in England and America in the Seventeenth Century’ (New York, 1955)
Clifford Orwin and Nathan Tarcov ‘The Legacy of Rousseau’ (1997) pp.xiv
Christoph Houswitschka ‘Locke’s Education or Rousseau’s Freedom’, Essay published in ‘Fashioning Childhood in the Eighteenth Century’ (2006), pp.82
Locke, 1690/1947, bk. II, chap. 1, p.26
Desiderius Erasmus ‘Collected works of Erasmus’ 1531 Edited and translated by Clarence H. Miller (2012) pp.305
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John Bull as a Symbol
John Bull is a national caricature who appeared in the eighteenth century and is still familiar today. Britain's national symbols, personifications of the homeland and its public virtues, are, historically speaking, relatively young. They emerged as we know them about the mid-nineteenth century as high Victorian cartoonists' stereotypes. Until recently, most historians treated these national symbols as self-evident ornaments or fixed, unchanging icons. This interpretation guarantees that the modern viewer will fail to grasp the crucial role these satiric figures played in the growth of English patriotism and chauvinism, in the development of national and regional self-images and stereotypes, and in the political dialogue of the latter half of the eighteenth century. When examined as part of a visual chronicle, their metamorphosis allows us not only to focus on the rise of patriotism noted by so many in the late eighteenth century, but also to trace shifts in public opinion.
Britannia, used by the Romans on a first century AD coin to celebrate their subjugation of the British Isles, was revived in the sixteenth century to express the emerging glory of England, later Britain. Her menagerie, especially the lion, and bulldog or mastiff, are offspring of a medieval emblematic tradition. These icons were first used by the English elite in the late 1500s, in emblem books, in masques and on coins to inspire dynastic and national loyalties. John Bull appeared in the early eighteenth century. By the 1780s artists and authors were depicting John Bull's family and an assortment of animals in political prints to symbolist the nation and national character. More often than not they were victims of tyranny, party politics, government policy or foreign powers. Their appearance varied with their role. Only after the Napoleonic Wars did artists, publicists, propagandists, and later advertisers, transform John Bull into a stolid country squire, the embodiment of bourgeois English and British character, and convert Britannia at the same time into a matronly Graeco-Roman goddess, the visual 17 representation national virtues.
This transformation of these national symbols both in their physical appearance and roles reflects a changing British set of political values and shifting moral imperatives. A closer study of this glossary of symbols in transition within their historical context provides one of the keys to understanding the development of late Georgian and Victorian political culture and English, later British, self-image. The changing appearance of these national icons indicates a shift from Georgian discontent to high Victorian self-satisfaction. "Georgian impudence", Draper Hill observed in Mr. Gillray, the Caricaturist, "yielded to Victorian dignity when the litter proved a more saleable commodity". Likewise, their transformation offers some clues as to how and why the establishment appropriated these images for their own use, as for example, when Liberty was reconstructed in France or America into a patriotic female warrior.
When Britannia, personifying the nation, and John Bull, expressing the English national character, showed up in political illustrations in the 1750s, satirical prints were a growing form of popular entertainment, and becoming a part of the political process. The golden Age of the English satirical print - the era of Hogarth, Gillray, Rowlandson and Cruikshank - is the result of artists and printers, inspired by a dynamic political culture and popular demand, creatively melding two emblems, symbolic traditions: largely developed in the Renaissance, and caricature, a special individual technique of graphic satire of the Baroque period, imported from Italy in the eighteenth century.
Verbal and visual satire were joined together in England. By the 1750s literary political satire was already an established genre, in prose and on stage, exemplified in the works of Swift, Defoe, Pope and Gay. In the late 17j0s, Arthur Pond's etchings, after Pier Leone Ghezzi's caricature portraits, introduced the English elite to the art of personal caricature: the deliberate distortion of an individual's features or aura, designed both to ridicule and to explain. Caricature was art instant hit among the English upper classes.
Initially caricature was an upper-class insiders game, but it soon became a popular and effective political weapon. In the 1750s, Lord George Townshend attacked his adversaries through caricature, circulating them among his friends and potential allies.
Richard Godfrey in a 1985 essay on English caricature asserts: "Townshend was the fist amateur to convert a sophisticated private amusement into a rancorous public activity". William Hogarth and others, meanwhile, expanded and extended visual satire and individual caricature, maliciously blending them with the abusive emblematic satirical conventions. These engravings, highlighting the foibles, vices, and weaknesses of the human comedy sold widely. These prints were an expression of what Roy Porter called "that alert middling urban culture so conspicuously neglected by eighteenth-century historians from E.P. Thompson to J.C. Clark". In London this visual satire became an effective device to attack one's political rivals or highlight the era's problems; a part of the political process, not incidental to it. The artists regularly reworked the national symbols, playing with an expanding iconic vocabulary, responding to their popularity and the temper of the times.
Britannia began as a mere emblem but she evolved into a moral symbol. For linguistic reasons, the Greeks and Romans imposed pleasant feminine names on abstractions such as patriotism and countries. Britannia first appeared on the reverse side of a Roman coin in AD119-122 during Hadrian's reign. Ironically, her debut celebrated the Roman victory over a people she would later defend. The Roman representation of Britannia has remained essentially unchanged: a classically draped goddess seated three-quarters left, holding a spear in her right hand, with her left forearm resting on her shield.
After the Romans left, Britannia vanished until the sixteenth century when she reappeared as a visual and literary symbol. The English now mixed her with the image of Boudica, the female rebel warrior of A.D. 60, in their efforts to flatter Gloriana. During the early 1600s Britannia materialised as the visual image that, just slightly altered, survives to this day. Her noble spirit and values were invoked in emblematic books and in masques at the courts of the Stuarts, James l and Charles 1. Dutch medals, during their mid-seventeenth century propaganda campaign against England, portrayed Britannia in unflattering, even insulting poses. During Charles ll's reign, Britannia returned to British money her face alleged to be one of the king's numerous favourites, Frances Stewart. Duchess of Richmond. Britannia sat with a spear in her right hand, an olive branch or twig in her left, leaning her left forearm on a shield decorated by the cross of St George and the saltire of St Andrew, or more rarely, the royal coat of arms. As the Minerva or Pallas Athene of Britain, she was on British coins to stay. During the reign of George III Britannia's spear was replaced by Neptune's trident, and she acquired a plumed helmet.
In the late 1700s Britannia, youthful goddess, personified the nation, though whether that nation was England or Britain depended on the subject and intent of the artist. She embodied numerous Virtues, particularly those associated with national and public life: patriotism, honesty, selflessness, discipline, simplicity. She also guaranteed English freedoms - especially Liberty, the female personification of a free people. Liberty was sketched as a soft-featured maiden, in classical tunic or simple dress, bareheaded, distinguished from the other traditional female allegorical figures by a liberty cap on a pole. More often than not Britannia was portrayed as the innocent guardian abused, insulted, even raped or martyred.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Britannia began to appear in magazine cartoons as a classical matriarch usually representing the nation, and as the apotheosis of values central to the dominant elites, Justice, Liberty and The Empire. By the end of her lengthy reign, Queen Victoria was often conflated or even confused with Britannia, who had become a massive Graeco-Roman matron, the symbol of imperialism and its implied virtues. Since that era, artists, writers, playwrights, poets, and publicists have blended legendary heroines, classical symbols, ruling queens, and most recently a female prime minister, with heroic ideals they deemed proper and necessary for their purposes. Eventually propaganda became, as Marina Warner in Monuments and Maidens effectively demonstrates, "Britannia's chief theatre of activity".
John Bull emerged much, much later. In 1712, John Arbuthnot, physician mathematician, satirist and Tory partisan, published five pamphlets, later reissued as The History of John Bull. He used Bull as a political weapon against the Whigs and their conduct of the War of the Spanish Succession, the court intrigues of the Marlboroughs, the religious squabbles of the Church of England and the Dissenting Sects and burdensome, unjust taxes. Arbuthnot described Bull vividly:
[He was] [. ] an honest plain-dealing Fellow, Cholerick, Bold and of a very inconstant Temper [. ] ruddy and plump with a pair of cheeks like a Trumpeter [. ] John was quick and understood his business very well, but no man was more careless, in looking into his Accounts or more cheated by Partners, Apprentices or Servants: This was occasioned by his being a boon companion, loving his Bottle and his Diversions; for to say Truth, No Man kept a better house than John, nor spent his money more generously.
Inspired by Arbuthnot's character, Bull cropped up in popular literature during the middle third of eighteenth century; an evolving image in search of an illustrator. Nearly fifty years went by before visual satirists began to use him to embody the cares and trials of England. When he appeared he was the miserable common man, usually mistreated and misunderstood. Not until the 1790s did what John Brewer labels "the bovine Briton" out-number the portrayals of him as the wretched victim. According to Draper Hill, in James Gillray's depictions, "John, the common man at the mercy of his betters, seldom stands for the entire nation as Britannia does". And poor Bull rarely performs in an aggressive capacity. Hill noted that: "Devotedly patriotic, he exists primarily as an object for harassment and exploitation". Similarly, Dorothy George concluded from her cataloguing of Georgian visual satire that the cartoonists treated John Bull ambivalently, because the "subtle process of democratisation" was still going on in Britain. Since Bull was not standardised, she concluded that he possessed a double image: "the typical Englishman (the bearer of burdens who grumbles and pays)" and the "mouthpiece of collective opinion". After 1792 John Bull served in cartoons as a soldier and sailor against Napoleon. Bull as the "uncouth yokel" embodied naivete, shrewdness and malice. At the same time, in Dr George's view, he represented a "splendid personification of changing mental climates and shifting currents of opinion", which often placed him "outside the governing class".
Whatever shape and age the cartoonists gave John Bull until the 1790s, he usually was a put-upon radical patriot. As Hugh Cunningham pointed out in "Will the real John Bull stand up Please", by the 1770s, patriotism, defined in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary (1755 edition) as "one whose ruling passion is love of his country" had been captured by the English radically such as Wilkes. "A patriot" wrote Cunningham "had become someone whose ruling passion was the assertion of the rights of the freeborn Englishman". Now one can comprehend why in 1775 Johnson (a model for John Bull himself) grumbled to Boswell that "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels".
Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, and George Cruikshank portrayed Bull in similar ways, notwithstanding their own unique artistic styles. While John's physical appearance often bore the mark of the individual artist, he still emerged as the hapless wretch. However, when the British beat Napoleon on the high seas, as in the Battle of the Nile, or later at Waterloo, John Bull was pictured as a triumphant bully. John's portly size served as perfect foil to Napoleon's petite frame. Thus the chubby Englishman was ultimately better off physically and mentally than the "enslaved" Frenchman. Although Bull was usually well fed, occasionally victorious, and certainly more blessed than the "enslaved" sans-culotte, he seldom exuded self-confidence, for he was not yet convinced of his own power and influence.
In the 1820s John Doyle or H.B. (grandfather of Arthur Conan Doyle), the most influential English cartoonist in the transitional stage from the rowdy Georgian to the more decorous Victorian era, dressed John Bull as a country squire rather than as an unkempt bumpkin. He smoothed out his rough manners to make him more acceptable to middle-class Victorian tastes. David Low, the cartoonist, acerbically characterised this bowdlerisation of political cartooning by the Victorians: "Satire was shooed up a back street as too vulgar for the vulgas, and it's place was filled by facetiousness and whimsy" Between 1815 and 1840 John Bull's shape, dress and manners increasingly came to represent what Cunningham characterises as "the super-ego of the governing classes", rather than the anti-hero, the patriotic abused common man.
By the l840s John Bull was undergoing a transformation in role. Carlyle, with his tongue ponderously buried in his own cheek, lauded old John in Past and Present as "a born Conservative", the typical Englishman:
[. ] the stupidest in speech, the wisest in action [. ] slow to believe in novelties; patient of much error in actualities; deeply and forever certain of the greatness that is in Law, in Custom once solemnly established, and now long recognised as just and final - True O Radical Reformer, there is no Custom that can, properly speaking, be final; none [. ] [. ] His epic "be a mighty Empire slowly built together, a mighty series of Heroic Deeds - a mighty Conquest over chaos"
William Newman copied John Bull in Punch but John Leech really established the civilised Bull, who was to remain largely unchanged from 1840 until 1930. Leech's and Punch's Bull was a successful country squire, clad in a double-vested swallow-tail coat, cravat, riding breeches, gaiters and boots with his watch fob dangling over a substantial belly, two evident signs of middle-class order and prosperity. Leech's Britannia evolved more and more into an abstraction, a matronly female battleaxe, an icon of patriotic virtues rather than the collective will or national personality associated with John Bull. In a sense she exemplified the perfect Victorian woman as well as the nation's ideals, and, increasingly she became associated (or confused?) with Queen Victoria.
If Leech conventionalised Britannia and Bull, John Tenniel, his successor at Punch perfected the high Victorian stereotypes of Great Britain's national symbols. During his lengthy career Tenniel put Bull in many moods and situations, but old John always possessed all the proper and prosperous attributes of a stout upper middle-class Victorian, even when moved to anger or harassed by others. What mattered to Tenniel and to Punch's audience was dignity and discretion, not impudence. Tenniel's Britannia radiated Victorian decorum, respectability and to our eyes, kitsch. Her manner and behaviour elevated her to a plane reminiscent of the allegories and abstractions portrayed centuries earlier in the emblem books. Middle-class Victorian propriety and militant nationalism were transformed into Britannia's sisters, Truth, Bravery, and Bereavement. David Low claimed that Tenniel recruited not only Britannia but her entire family on the "permanent staff-so-to-speak of Cartooning". In Tenniel's cartooning world, Low in his 1942 essay "British Cartoonists" observed:
The goddesses Germania, Columbia, La Belle France, Russia, Erin and the rest appeared engaged in lofty commerce one with another so frequently that they gradually created a world of their own. One lost sight of their symbolic mission and grew interested in them for their own sakes - in the sympathetic hand-clasps they would give one another in their times of disaster; the frigid glances when relations were strained; the laurel wreaths they would place upon the tombs of one another's latest dead statesmen.
Tenniel's talents, Punch's influence, and the public mood fostered most other satirical artists to render Bull and Britannia in similar style and form. Both were now identified with Great Britain at the peak of her industrial and imperial might. As long as Britannia continued to rule the waves, these national symbols, along with the Lion and the Bulldog, were rendered as essentially positive images. As warriors for the cause they embodied imperial Great Britain. They were not, however, without their rivals or their critics.
In Disraeli's two nations, another more popular version of the national character, Ally Sloper, emerged in 1884 in the first of the comics. To H.G. Wells, A. Sloper, esq, the F.O.M. and M.F.K.O.M.I.E. ("Friend of Man" and "Most Frequently Kicked Out Man in Europe") irreverent, ribald, and randy was the new urban John Bull. The ubiquitous Sloper demonstrates that the masses never entirely accepted the classes version of the national character. Still Bull and his naval cousin, Jack Tar, generally thrived until the end of the First World War, outlasting Sloper as a symbol for British character, virtues and products.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, as the British dominance in the world waned, and the governing classes' control at home over the political process began to be challenged, a few artists and illustrators started to depict the nationalities in less flattering ways. These visual satirists, such as Phil May, publishing in Australia, Max Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley, and two incisive outsiders, Cynicus (Martin Anderson) a Scot, and Will Dyson, an Australian, reacted to the uncertainties, self-delusions and hypocrisy of their era, and reworked John Bull's family to reflect their perceptions.
John Bull reached a peak of popularity towards the end of the Victorian and early Edwardian periods. He was still an important symbol of determination and grit in the Second World War but he has not been used as much in the Post-War period and since decolonisation. In many ways he epitomised the Imperial ethic, but without an Empire, he has become anachronistic.
by Peter Mellini