Charles Wirgman

1832 - 18911 artwork

About the artist

Charles Wirgman was born on the 31th of August in 1832. He was an English artist and cartoonist, the creator of the Japan Punch and illustrator in China and Meiji period Japan for the Illustrated London News. Wirgman was the eldest son of Ferdinand Charles Wirgman (1806–57) , and brother of Theodore Blake Wirgman. He married Ozawa Kane in 1863, they had one son. Wirgman arrived in Japan... Read moreCharles Wirgman was born on the 31th of August in 1832.
He was an English artist and cartoonist, the creator of the Japan Punch and illustrator in China and Meiji period Japan for the Illustrated London News.

Wirgman was the eldest son of Ferdinand Charles Wirgman (1806–57) , and brother of Theodore Blake Wirgman. He married Ozawa Kane in 1863, they had one son.

Wirgman arrived in Japan in 1861 as a correspondent for the Illustrated London News, and resided in Yokohama from 1861 until his death. He published the first magazine in Japan, the Japan Punch, monthly between 1862 and spring 1887. The magazine was written in a humorous, often satirical manner, and was illustrated with Wirgman’s cartoons.

Wirgman formed a partnership called “Beato & Wirgman, Artists and Photographers” with Felice Beato from 1864–1867. Wirgman again produced illustrations derived from Beato's photographs while Beato photographed some of Wirgman's sketches and other works

Wirgman taught western-style drawing and painting techniques to a number of Japanese artists, notably the ukiyo-e artist Kobayashi Kiyochika. He also was briefly an English tutor, most notably to the future Admiral Togo, then a young cadet.

In the 1860s, he accompanied British envoy Sir Ernest Satow on a number of journeys around Japan as described in Satow's Diplomat in Japan.

Charles Wirgman died on the 8th of February in 1891. He buried in the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery.

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