As some may know, I have now finished a solid draft of my book Humble Men in Company: The Unlikely Friendship between Samuel Coleridge and Charles Lamb. I have put it into the hands of a few brave souls who have agreed to read it to give me feedback on its consistency and readability. For this favor I am thankful. In the meantime I looked through my research on friendships in the Romantic era and eventually began to concentrate on Thomas Hood, humorist whose work I really enjoy. I had already run across Hood in my research for the previous book because Hood was one of the closest friends of Charles Lamb. The interesting thing about Hood for me is that he was apprenticed as an engraver and continued throughout his career to illustrate his humorous prose and verse with small drawings. Yet no books on Hood, and there are only a few, say almost anything about these illustrations or Hood's place in the history of illustration in the 19th century. But Hood worked closely with a number of the early Punch illustrators and some of his writing even appeared in editions of Punch. But though as an illustrator Hood was by no means a genius, he clearly played a role in the development of humorous illustration that would evolve into the great Punch cartoons later in the century by such illustrious men as Phil May, and Bernard Partridge. And I have no doubt that had Hood lived past the youthful age of 46 his illustrations would have gone on to improve as did his contemporary John Leech. This aspect of Hood's life and work as been heretofore overlooked and I hope, at least in part, to correct this oversight. I you look back at my posts for late last year you will find on one Thomas Hood.
I will continue to post updates on how this research is going as it forms into a new book.