Thomas Fitzpatrick and 'The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly', 1905–1915

James Curry & Ciarán Wallace

Catalogue Price: €19.95
ISBN: 978-1-907002-17-5
Catalogue Price: €25.00
ISBN: 978-1-907002-17-5

February 2015. 208pp; colour ills, large format.

‘From caustic commentaries on ladies’ fashions to the high politics of Home Rule, the cartoons from the monthly now offer a unique window into those changing time’, John Spain, Irish Independent (March 2015).

‘Thomas Fitzpatrick was an artist of the Cultural Revival … his graphic skill and his interpretations of an imagined Celtic cultured island mark him out as an exceptional talent … A biographical essay by James Curry brings together the sparse range of information that is available on Fitzpatrick, showing a courteous, diligent family man, charitable in the extreme, who was deeply upset by the poverty of so many Dubliners. Ciarán Wallace provides a wide-ranging thematic analysis of the images under five headings – society, city politics, national politics, women and labour. His crisp, incisive commentaries on a substantial number of the images show a mastery of Dublin’s history of the period … The volume is copiously illustrated. Wallace calculates that Fitzpatrick contributed over 500 images to the magazine in seven years. Over 150 are reproduced here … the book is a suitable tribute to this outstanding magazine … Curry and Wallace have produced an essential work that will be of substantial value to historians. This book is an excellent tribute to Fitzpatrick’, Patrick Callan, History Ireland (May/June 2015).

‘This book stands as an excellent and long overdue tribute to “Fitz” and Curry’s biography eaves us with a portrait of an unfinished life, cut short in 1912 at the age of fifty-two … Fitzpatrick emerges as an altruist and a patriot, with an intense passion for Dublin and its people … Ahead of the challenging and sometimes brutal years which followed his death, teaching Dublin’s emerging middle class to “never … take themselves too seriously” was perhaps Fitzpatrick’s greatest gift to them, and to his city’, Paul Hughes, Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 2016).

‘[A] wonderful new book … it is a valuable addition to the growing scholarly literature on Irish cartoons … James Curry contributes a biographical sketch of Fitzpatrick to the volume, while Ciarán Wallace reviews the contents of The Lepracaun over the span of its 122 issues. These essays are followed by a selection of 79 cartoons, each placed on a single page and with helpful commentary on each by Wallace. There is an introduction by the contemporary artist, Jim Fitzpatrick, who is a grandson of Thomas … there is much to enjoy in The Lepracaun cartoons. They provide a fascinating insight into politics and society in Ireland in the years before the 1916 Rising, and they are well presented in this splendidly designed volume’, Felix Larkin, Irish Catholic (March 2015).

‘The reprinting of a large number of cartoons from The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly in book [form] is indeed a timely event … The one hundred and seventy cartoons reprinted in this volume provide a rich sample of what made this publication such a popular and enduring institution in the decade leading up to 1916. The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly clearly captured the flavour and atmosphere of its times and much of its spirit is transmitted in this selection … there is much to appreciate here … This new publication of these rather old, rare and difficult to find cartoons is a most useful addition to our knowledge of the early years of twentieth-century Ireland. Collectively, they provide a lively shorthand visual account of the main social, economic and political issues on the minds of the denizens of what one cartoon ironically calls “Dear Dirty Dublin”’, John McCourt, Dublin Review of Books (October 2015). 

‘This book was published to considerable acclaim at home and overseas … This wonderfully illustrated volume is arranged into five sections each dealing with aspects of Irish life in the early decades of the twentieth century: Society, City Politics, National Politics, Women and Labour … the authors provide very readable explanations contextualising each cartoon and drawing … This book is an immensely enjoyable read on a subject that, no doubt, will attract more academic interest to explore this genre and its influence in forging or altering public opinion in Ireland during the early years of the last century’, Michael Merrigan, Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (June 2015).