HOPKINS, LIVINGSTON YORK YOURTEE ('HOP') (1846-1927)
Known as ‘Hop’, Livingston Hopkins was the chief cartoonist at the Sydney Bulletin in the decades either side of Federation.
He was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, and fought briefly as a teenager on the Union side in the American Civil War. From 1864 to 1882, he developed a strong reputation as a cartoonist and illustrator in the United States, until William H. Traill lured him from New York to work on the Bulletin in 1883. His arrival was decisive for the weekly’s visual aspect, both due to his talents as an irreverent illustrator and because he brought the first photo-engraving equipment to Australia. This technology permitted drawings to be transferred quickly to print, thus making immediately topical cartoons possible.
Hop contributed thousands of cartoons to the Bulletin between 1883 and 1913, and became both a member of the editorial team and, eventually, a director. With Phil May and later Norman Lindsay, he provided continuity of style in a journal that also solicited illustrations from hundreds of freelancers. His spare lines and sharp—although seldom severe—satire reflected the economic isolationism, republican nationalism and cultural chauvinism of ‘the bushman’s bible’ in its heroic age under J.F. Archibald’s editorship. His most sustained caricatures were his versions of New South Wales-based politicians William Parkes, George Reid and (Sir) Edmund Barton, and his invention (later carried on by others) of the ‘Little Boy from Manly’, which became an emblem of both the youthful colony of New South Wales and the Australian Federation. A John Tenniel-like figure in rounded cap and breeches, the Little Boy was a piece of instant nostalgia, already harking back to an earlier era when first drawn in 1885.
Hop himself was tall and angular, a significant figure in turn-of-the-century artistic Sydney, who ran an artistic camp at Balmoral with artist and critic Julian Ashton. He was a sometimes authoritarian father to his six children and, like many Australian cartoonists since, practised arts other than newspaper cartooning—in his case, etchings and making violins and cellos.