old drawing of a social gathering

'Christmas Eve at the Moated Grange'

In Victorian England Christmas was a time for family gatherings, with events like story telling. This seasonal drawing by cartoonist and novelist George Du Maurier illustrates an English family swapping ghost stories on Christmas Eve. 'Christmas Eve at the Moated Grange' was published in Punch, December 27, 1890. 

The family's conversation (not shown here) is hand written underneath the drawing:

Emily (in the midst of Aunt Marianna’s blood-curdling Ghost Story.): "Hush!  Listen!  There’s a door banging somewhere down-stairs, and yet the servants have gone to bed... George, do just run down and see what it can be!"(George wishes himself back at Charterhouse)

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 newsapaper '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.  

George Du Maurier (1834-1896) was one of many successful cartoonists whose work appeared in Punch.  

Accession number  WAG 4672