Shrimpton's Oxford Caricatures
Thomas Shrimpton & Son published and sold photographic reproductions of commissioned or submitted original caricatures from their premises at 23-4 Broad St., Oxford, from 1868-1901, their shop window display seemingly being their only advertising strategy, there being no evidence of them ever having produced a catalogue or list. The subject matter includes many aspects of University life, notably University and religious personalities, and the trials and tribulations of undergraduate life, plus sports and pastimes. Other subjects frequently covered are ritualism, politics, aestheticism , 'town and gown' confrontations and women, especially allusions to their becoming full members of the University. The caricatures were essentially produced for undergraduates and mainly by undergraduates. Some of the images and allusions are very personal and sometimes unforgiving and cruel. The caricatures or cartoons are invariably humorous, witty and inventive, covering local (University), as well as, national events; many display learned quotations from classical authors or poets, and towards the end of the publishing period, quotations from contemporary plays and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas appear. The names of the caricaturists are given if identifiable.Throughout the publishing history distinct series were produced, notably 'Great Guns of Oxford' (Nos. 1 - ) and' Our Public Schools' (Nos.1-27), generally representing an individual in their familiar setting, though always done humorously. The photographic reproductions are mainly in black and white, but there are a few instances where hand colouring has been applied, particularly to images of ritualist priests in their finery. In all there are 1214 images [with minor inaccuracies with foliating the last leaf is recorded as as '1224'], with a few appearing as duplicates. The 7 albums would appear to represent the complete set of caricatures published. This set, together with the one in the John Johnson Collection described under 'Related material', are the only known 'complete sets'. Every attempt has been made to identify individuals (500+), locations and events. Where appropriate, contextual notes have been added and quotations cited. The locations of the (few known) surviving, original caricatures are provided within the catalogue description. Titles in the albums given in ink below caricatures [generally given in square brackets] are those provided by Shrimpton & Son (ex. info. Madan). The albums benefit from additional annotations, notably by George Rodney Scott ('GRS'), Fellow and Dean of Merton College, who was not only a member of the University resident throughout much of the publishing history of the 'Caricatures', but appeared in them himself. In his later years he became an 'extra member of staff' of the Bodleian Library engaged in indexing prints.
1.05 Linear metres (7 physical shelfmarks)
Language of Materials
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. G.A. Oxon. 4o 412, fol. 1].
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Full range of shelfmarks:
G.A. Oxon. 4o 412-18
Collection ID (for staff)
CMD ID 15178
Photographic reproductions of original caricatures of Oxford University life, published by Thomas Shrimpton & Son, 1868-1901.
Biographical / Historical
The 7 albums of photographic reproductions of Shrimpton & Son's 'Oxford Caricatures' were the personal property of Falconer Madan (1851-1935), Sub-Librarian at the Bodleian Library, then 'Bodley's Librarian', 1912-19. Thomas Shrimpton (1806-85) and his son Alfred Thomas Shrimpton (1840-1900) were publishers at 23-4 Broad St., Oxford, 1852-1900).
A personal set of albums collected by Falconer Madan.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Falconer Madan, 19 Feb. 1921.
- Harris, Colin 'Shrimpton & Son's 'Oxford Caricatures': a new resource for the study of student life in nineteenth-century Oxford', Bodleian Library Record Vol. 30, Nos. 1-2 (2017), pp. 61-83.
- 19th century
- 20th century
- Madan | Falconer | 1851-1935 | Bodley's Librarian, palaeographer and bibliographer
- Oxford | Oxfordshire | SP 5106
- Shrimpton | Alfred Thomas | 1840- 1900 | book seller and publisher
- Shrimpton | Thomas | 1806-1885 | book seller and publisher
- Thomas Shrimpton & Son. book seller and publisher.
- Shrimpton's Oxford Caricatures
- Finding aid prepared by Colin Harris
- Language of description
- Script of description