The Sketch

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Front page of the 12 May 1915 issue, featuring Rita Jolivet, British actress who survived the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

The Sketch was a British illustrated weekly journal, which focused on high society and the aristocracy. It ran for 2,989 issues between 1 February 1893[1] and 17 June 1959. It was published by the Illustrated London News Company and was primarily a society magazine with regular features on royalty and the aristocracy, theatre, cinema and art studies. It had a high photographic content with many studies of society ladies and their children as well as regular layouts of point to point racing meetings and similar events.

Clement Shorter and William Ingram started The Sketch in 1893.[2] Shorter was the first editor, from 1893 to 1900, succeeded by John Latey (until 1902) and then Keble Howard.[3] Bruce Ingram was editor from 1905 to 1946.

The magazine is chiefly remembered for first publishing the illustrations of Bonzo the dog by George E. Studdy (from 1921). It also published series of short stories within its pages, one per issue, with authors such as Walter de la Mare and Algernon Blackwood. Under the editorship of Bruce Ingram, it was also the first magazine to publish short stories by Agatha Christie, starting with The Affair at the Victory Ball in issue 1571, dated 7 March 1923. Altogether, Christie wrote 49 stories for The Sketch between 1923 and 1924 (just under a third of her total output of short stories) which were later collected into some or all of the contents of the volumes Poirot Investigates (1924), The Big Four (1927), Partners in Crime (1929), Poirot's Early Cases (1974), and While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997). Christie dedicated the 1953 novel A Pocket Full of Rye to Ingram.

The Sketch printed photographs by Howard Coster,[4] and illustrations by H. M. Bateman, Max Beerbohm, Edmund Blampied, Percy Venner Bradshaw (1877–1965), Thomas Arthur Browne, Hilda Cowham, Annie Fish, John Hargrave, John Hassall, Phil May, Bernard Partridge, Melton Prior, W. Heath Robinson, Sidney Sime, Josep Segrelles and Bert Thomas.

Writers included Carleton Allen, Lucie Armstrong, Nora Hopper, William Robertson Nicoll, and John Courtenay Trewin.[3]

The British Library holds a complete run of The Sketch.[5]


  1. ^ "Art and Architecture". Cardiff University. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  2. ^ Shorter's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states 1892.
  3. ^ a b Philip Waller, Writers, Readers, and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870–1918, pp. 351–2
  4. ^ "Howard Coster", The National Portrait Gallery, Retrieved 11 February 2013
  5. ^ "British Library Newspaper Collections". British Library. Retrieved 24 January 2015.

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