Born in Newcastle, Landells was apprenticed to the wood-engraver Thomas Bewick. In 1829 he moved to London, and before long managed to start his own engraving workshop. After attempting a short-lived fashion journal, Cosmorama, he joined with the journalist Henry Mayhew and the printer William Last to found Punch in 1841. Initial difficulties forced Landells to sell his one-third share to the publishers Bradbury and Evans: after the new owners replaced Landells with Joseph Swain as engraving chief, Landells responded with a pamphlet A Word with Punch (1847).
Herbert Ingram consulted Landells about launching his illustrated weekly Illustrated London News in 1842: after a commission to sketch Victoria's first visit to Scotland that year, Landells became the paper's first artist correspondent and continued to supply prints for the newspaper until his death.
Landells was also involved in several other magazines: the less successful Illuminated Magazine (1843–35), Great Gun (1844, in imitation of Punch), the Lady's Newspaper (1847–63, after which incorporated in the Queen), Diogenes (1853, another attempt to imitate Punch), and the Illustrated Inventor. Responding to the growth in the children's book market, he wrote and illustrated several books for children: Boy's Own Toy-Maker (1858), Girl's Own Toy-Maker (1859), and Illustrated Paper Model Maker (1860).
Landells "made a unique contribution to the development of the illustrated magazine in the nineteenth century. He provided the link between Bewick's inspirational use of wood-engraving for artistic purposes and the use of the same technology for the mass market."
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Parlour Magic by Ebenezer Landells is freely accessible with full page images and full text searching in the University of Florida Digital Collections
- The Boy's Own Toy-maker: a Practical Illustrated Guide to the Useful Employment of Leisure Hours by Ebenezer Landells is freely accessible with full page images and full text searching in the University of Florida Digital Collections