Linton- Life in the Collections
32) Heads of the People; or, Portraits of the English.
Two volumes, comprising a series of literary character sketches by Douglas Jerrold, William Makepeace Thackeray, Laman Blanchard, Leigh Hunt, William Howitt, and others.
The graver-work for Kenny Meadow’s Heads of the People, executed in blackline facsimile manner, was Linton’s most extensive collaboration with John Orrin Smith, before they became partners in 1842. As Linton states in his Masters of Wood Engraving, most of the work had been executed by Orrin Smith’s best pupil Alfred Harral, a very prolific engraver with whom Linton would collaborate even in his late American years. “My connection with Smith brought me among the artists whose drawings, with the help of a dozen or so of pupils and journeymen, we engraved. Chief of these artists, still retaining the popularity he had gained almost immediately when Bewick’s favourite pupil, he came to London from Newcastle, was William Harvey, most prolific of draftsmen, most amiable of men. (...) Through Smith I knew Kenny Meadows, then completing an Illustrated Shakespeare, and also drawing the Heads of the People, a clever series of character heads for which the letter-press was written by Douglas Jerrold, Horne, Laman Blanchard, Dickens, and others. (...) With Meadows I had much association (...) a witty man, with some inventive talent, but a poor draughtsman, having had little artistic eduction.” (Memories)