'Christmas Morning' drawing for Punch

Christmas is, for many, an occasion of merriment, festivity and celebration. 'Christmas Morning' by English illustrator and caricaturist Charles Keene illustrates the chance meeting of Mr Lightbody and Mr Scarebairn on the way to church. The cartoon is undated. However, an inscription on the mount notes that "in this particular year Christmas Day falls on a Sunday".

The drawing highlights the conflicts of behaviour on a day reserved for both ceremony and abstinence. Keene produced many humorous cartoons for Punch during the 1840s and 1850s. 

Their hand written conversation reads:

Mr Lightbody: "Good Morning Mr Scarebairn a merry Christmas to you."
Mr Scarebairn: "Heck!  Man that’s nae a fittin adjective to put afore the Sabbath."

This drawing, which is not currently on display, is from the Walker Art Gallery's collection.


Punch was a magazine founded in 1841 by writer Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells. The idea came from the French satire newspaper 'Le Charivari'. In homage, the first issue of Punch was subtitled 'The London Charivari'. Punch was internationally famous for its humour and wit. Its political and social cartoons captured English life in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The term 'cartoon' previously referred to a preliminary sketch made for murals or stained glass windows.  Punch and other illustrated publications adapted the term and introduced the concept of ‘cartoon' as we know it today.  

Charles Samuel Keene (1823-1891) was one of many successful cartoonists whose work appeared in Punch.

Accession number WAG 1415   

sketch of two gentlemen in top hats talking to each other, with hand written transcript of their conversation