|Pen & Ink Political Cartoon
20 Inches by 16 Inches
(50.8cm x 40.6cm)
Titled “A Slippery Customer” the cartoon depicts the then military situation in southern Africa is depicted as tusky wild boar (I am sure the Boer/boar pun was fully intended)
giving a badly out maneuvered John Bull the slip.
Leon Barritt was born in New York in 1852. Working for the New York Press. His hard hitting political cartoons made him enemy to the likes of William Randolph Hearst.
In later life when his career as a cartoonist was sidelined by paralysis, he devoted himself to his second passion of astronomy. He became publisher of The Monthly Evening Sky
Map magazine. Later with astronomer Garrett P. Serviss he would develop and publish the remarkable Barritt–Serviss Star and Planet Finder (pictured below). Barritt died in
New York in 1938
A Slippery Customer is in a simpler style than Barritt usually worked in and may have been done as a gift and not intended for broad publication. Unfortunately the intended
recipient is not known, Barritt signed the cartoon twice. One in the cursive dedication and secondly in his usual cartouche. He also titled the work twice. Once in block letters
(replete with a corrected spelling error) in the drawing itself, and secondly on the lower margin in cursive.
|Below: A fine example of the Barritt-Serviss Star and Planet Finder from the Soldiers of the Queen collection. This monstrously-sized planisphere (measuring
over 15 inches on each side) allowed users to locate major stars, constellations, planets and the Moon in the Northern Hemisphere via a rotating calender wheel
and a series of viewing windows. First published in 1908, it remained in print into the 1950s. A replica was issued in the 1970s.