Misadventures at Margate
A Legend of Jarvis's Jetty
by Thomas Ingoldsby, illustrated by Ernest Jessop
Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845) was born in East Kent, trained as a solicitor and then became a country parson. Under the pseudonym "Thomas Ingoldsby" he regularly wrote humorous poems for satirical journals, and his best-known work was "The Ingoldsby Legends", which includes the present story.
Many editions were illustrated by famous artists such as Cruikshank, Tenniel and Rackham, but the lavish illustrations by Ernest Maurice Jessop (1851-1909) seemed particularly humorous and worthy of resurrection in a facsimile edition.
The story tells a light-hearted fable in which friendly DFLs (visitors 'down from London') are warned of the dangers of the local "vulgar boys" in the seaside resort of Margate. Both the text and the pictures depict the people, the costumes, the dialect and the scenes in early 19th century Thanet... although some of the faces seen in Jessop's wonderful cartoons can still be found in the side streets around Margate Pier and the Turner Contemporary art gallery! It dates from the same period as the Viney letters (in Turner's Margate through Contemporary Eyes) and the various events described in The Margate Tales, so one has to wonder whether Viney or even JMW Turner himself - who was a close contemporary of Barham - would have had similar encounters.
This edition also contains an appendix explaining the witty references that pepper the poem, and the full text notes to clarify terms that may be unfamiliar to modern readers.
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