This selection of the magazine spans the period 1895 to 1905. Each issue had a bold cover on dark thick cardboard and a balance of comic pieces and fictional elements. After 1902 the magazine tilted the balance towards the fictional, and towards novelty of feature (such as puzzles and other interactive elements. Within a short time of publication the poor quality of the paper stock made the magazine fragile. When I bought a large box with virtually a complete run from 1895 to 1905, the experience of opening and reading the thing resembled the unfolding of the Dead Sea Scrolls.Scanning was the obvious way of creating a temporary halt to the losses.
Early issues feel like a mere extension of the turgid text heavy eighties periodicals with their worthy tales and leaden illustration style. A proportion of Cheeky Chappie visual jokes was dotted here and there. Very soon, the character of the ham fisted but ingenious character, the Hooligan took over the dynamic, and drove the main direction into the turn of the Century.
From 1897 onwards, Nuggets ferments with single page cartoon features, and elaborate comic strips. Some were commissioned from the populist end of the market, some were bought in from abroad, and it is possible to see work by Winsor McKay (uncredited) and Caran d'Ache. Gradually the influence of Wilhelm Busch gives way to that of Aubrey Beardskey and Germany's Simplicissimus magazine.Each issue has a part of a serial which often featured incredible monsters and villains drawn by PUCK in the style of the seventies' illustrators such as A.B.Houghton.
In 1905 the format is made bigger, and the editorial mixture is recognisably veering to the mixture of the Weekly Comic, with tales of derring-do and scatterings of comic strips, puzzles and quizes. I have no issue after 1906. Perhaps it folded.
Apart from its virtues of graphic innovation, Nuggets explores the preoccupations of the age, the New Woman, the Seaside Holiday and Minstrels, the Concertina and the Panama Hat. The advent of the Cyclist then the Motorist is fully documented.It is a world of Innocence without reference to political tensions home and abroad. As a set of visual propositions it is as lively as anything of its kind in the UK, leaving PUNCH puffing far behind in its sclerotic Huntin' and Shootin' way. Imagine a magazine for the lively and sharp witted counter clerk, and you have Nuggets.
|ADVERTISING AND MARKETING|
|ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY|
|FIRST THIS THEN THAT|
|THE GIRAFFE as Graphic Cliche|
|MONSTERS AND ILLUSTRATION|
|THE MINSTREL CRAZE|
|IMAGES OF SOCIETY|
|SHOW BIZ - ON STAGE|
|WORMS' EYE VIEWS|
|WOMEN AND THE NEW WOMEN|
|SEX AND THE COMICS|