24 JANUARY 1891, Page 16



have read with much interest your appreciative article upon the humorist of the pencil, and do not think you are chargeable with the least exaggeration of his merits as an artist. An artist that can be both humorous and realistier seems to me a rant avis indeed. The great defect in most of our illustrations in the present day seems to me that they have realism without any character ; but in Keane's sketches people were painted true to life without a particle of earicature in them, and yet full of character and dry humour. In this respect his drawing was unique. I do riot know of any artist- whom he resembled. The subjects he selected would, in the hands of most artists, have been treated in. caricature, by which method the secret charm of his realism would haVe been lost, with that delicious sensation that you are looking upon, an actual scene of life out of which the hamorous is acci- dentally evolved, and not at a picture drawn to make you laugh.

John Leech's sketches were racy and full of fun, but he dealt largely in caricature, and seldom attempted a sober delineation. of real life. The same may be said in a meaeure of " George Cruik shank was ;sometimes admirable, but his man- nerism made his sketches monotonous. All three knew hor to select an interesting situation for their pictures, which many of our present illustrators fail to do, and, on the contrary, seem to select the most pointless part of the- narrative for illustration. Keene would seem to have ob- served (I do not say he did) some very comical occurrence in real life and. simply given it to us as he found it, retaining the character of each individual in the affair, every personal peculiarity of face and figure, every infirmity even of dress,. till we have quite forgotten that we are not looking upon a scene of real life, but upon a picture painted for our amuse- ment. For myself, I confess my interest in Punch has in a great measure died with Charles Keene.—I am, Sir, .&,c