The Graphic was a British weekly illustrated newspaper, first
published on 4 December 1869 by William Luson Thomas's company
Illustrated Newspapers Limited.
The influence of
The Graphic within the art world was immense, its
many admirers included Vincent van Gogh, and Hubert von Herkomer.
It continued to be published weekly under this title until 23 April
1932 and then changed title to The National Graphic between 28 April
and 14 July 1932; it then ceased publication, after 3,266 issues. From
1890 until 1926, Luson Thomas's company, H. R. Baines and Co.
published The Daily Graphic.
3 Weekly topics
5 The Daily Graphic
8 Further reading
9 External links
An illustration from the newspaper from 1884
The Graphic was founded by William Luson Thomas, a successful artist,
wood engraver and social reformer. Earlier he, his brother and his
brother-in-law had been persuaded to go to New York and assist in
launching two newspapers, Picture Gallery and Republic. Thomas also
had an engraving establishment of his own and, aided by a large staff,
illustrated and engraved numerous standard works. Exasperated, even
angered, by the unsympathetic treatment of artists by the world's most
successful illustrated paper, The Illustrated London News, and having
a good business sense Luson Thomas resolved to set up an opposition.
His illustrated paper, despite being more expensive that its
competition, became an immediate success.
When it began in 1869, the newspaper was printed in a rented house. By
1882, the company owned three buildings and twenty printing presses,
and employed more than 1,000 people. The first editor was Henry
Sutherland Edwards. A successful artist himself, founder Thomas
recruited gifted artists including Luke Fildes, Hubert von Herkomer,
Frank Holl, and John Millais.
The Graphic was published on a Saturday and its original cover price
was sixpence, while the Illustrated London
News was fivepence. In
its first year, it described itself to advertisers as "a superior
illustrated weekly newspaper, containing twenty-four pages imperial
folio, printed on fine toned paper of beautiful quality, made
expressly for the purpose and admirably adapted for the display of
In addition to its home market the paper had subscribers all around
British Empire and North America.
The Graphic covered home news
and news from around the Empire, and devoted much attention to
literature, arts, sciences, the fashionable world, sport, music and
opera. Royal occasions and national celebrations and ceremonials were
also given prominent coverage.
Artists employed on
The Graphic and The
Daily Graphic at the end of
the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century included Helen
Allingham, Edmund Blampied, Alexander Boyd, Frank Brangwyn, Randolph
Caldecott, John Charles Dollman, James H. Dowd, Godefroy Durand, Luke
Fildes, Harry Furniss, John Percival Gülich, George du Maurier, Phil
May, Ernest Prater, Leonard Raven-Hill, Sidney Sime,
Johnson Payne), George Stampa, Edmund Sullivan, Bert Thomas, F. H.
Townsend, Harrison Weir, and Henry Woods.
Writers for the paper included George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, H. Rider
Haggard and Anthony Trollope. 
Malcolm Charles Salaman was employed
there from 1890 to 1899.
Beatrice Grimshaw travelled the South Pacific
reporting on her experiences for the Daily Graphic. Mary Frances
Billington served the Graphic as a special correspondent from 1890 to
1897, reporting from India in essays that were compiled into Woman in
Topics of the Week: 12 paragraphs of news coverage.
Amusements: A roundup of activities for the week, for the middle-class
Our illustrations: a summary of all the illustrations in the edition.
Home: a summary of the news in Britain.
Legal: Trials and Cases of interest to the target reader.
A weekly serial written by popular authors of the time, such as
William Black (although this seemed to appear in the 1880s).
A summary of the new developments in science.
Rural notes: information about the season and tips about crops, and
other news concerning the rampant unrest of the farm labourers.
New Music: Reviews of the latest music and musicals.
Obituaries: of Church leaders, factory owners, European Royalty,
musicians and noteworthy Victorians.
Sport: coverage of football and cricket (with W.G. Grace)
Motoring: c. 1903–1908 Dorothy Levitt, The Fastest Girl on Earth,
wrote a column on motoring from the point of view of 'A woman's right
to motor'. A collection of her articles formed the basis of the book
The Woman and the Car: A chatty little handbook for all women who
motor or who want to motor in 1907/9.
There were at least three pages dedicated to advertising and it is
interesting to see the obsession with hygiene, with countless adverts
for toothpaste and soap products (and 'miracle-cure' pills).
The Graphic was designed to compete with The Illustrated London News
(established in 1842), and became its most successful rival. Earlier
rivals such as the
Illustrated Times and the Pictorial Times had
either failed to compete or been merged with the ILN. It appealed to
the same middle-class readership, but The Graphic, as its name
suggests, was intended to use images in a more vivid and striking way
than the rather staid ILN. To this end it employed some of the most
important artists of the day, making an immediate splash in 1869 with
Houseless and Hungry, Luke Fildes' dramatic image of the shivering
London poor seeking shelter in a workhouse.
It is much more difficult to produce and print illustrations than
type. Improvements in process work and machinery at the end of the
1880s allowed Luson Thomas to realise a long cherished project, a
daily illustrated paper.
The Daily Graphic
On 4 January 1890, Luson Thomas's company, H. R. Baines and Co.,
commenced publication of the first daily illustrated newspaper in
England, which was called The Daily Graphic. It was published until 16
October 1926, when it was incorporated with the Daily Sketch.
Luson Thomas's seventh son
George Holt Thomas was a director of the
newspaper company and became general manager. Holt Thomas founded The
Bystander and later Empire Illustrated before abandoning newspapers in
1906 and making a greater name for himself in the aviation
On August 15, 1932 Time magazine reported the name change to The
National Graphic and editor
William Comyns Beaumont of The Bystander
took over, replacing Alan John Bott.
^ This newspaper is not to be confused with its American precursor of
the same name, published between 1873 and 1889, which was the first
American daily illustrated newspaper.
^ a b c Mark Bills, ‘Thomas, William Luson (1830–1900)’, Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
^ a b Mr William Luson Thomas, Obituary. The Times, Thursday, October
18, 1900; pg. 7; Issue 36276
^ "DANGERS OF PEARL DIVING". The Queenslander. 18 March 1905.
p. 40. Retrieved 10 December 2011 – via National Library of
^ Fred Hunter, "Billington, Mary Frances (1862–1925)" Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press 2004).
^ "Victorian Illustrated Newspapers and Journals". British Library.
Retrieved 27 January 2018.
^ Vincent Orange, ‘Thomas, George Holt (1870–1929)’, Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
^ Time Magazine: "Eight Less One", August 15, 1925
Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory, 1870
The Reference Specialist British Library Newspapers
Law, Graham. Indexes to Fiction in The Illustrated London News
(1842–1901) and the Graphic, (1869–1901). Victorian Fiction
Research Guides 29, Victorian Fiction Research Unit, Department of
English, University of Queensland, 2001.
Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800–1900
(Canada: North Waterloo Academic Press, 2003)
The Newspaper Press in Britain: an annotated bibliography
(London:Mansell Publishing, 1987).
Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Graphic.
A history of
The Graphic newspaper & staff, with image of the
paper's engraving room in 1882.
Publication dates (British Library website)
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