Only 18 months after Clement Shorter launched The Sphere in January 1900, he founded a younger, livelier mid-weekly sibling, The Tatler. From its first issue on 3 July 1901, The Tatler was to “record the appearance of people in what was generically spoken of as Society, with a capital ‘S’.” Its first cover featured the Duchess of Sutherland and its weekly content took in news of society engagements, royal events, theatre, the arts, fashion and sport.
After the outbreak of war, The Tatler threw itself wholeheartedly into the war effort, reporting on charity and fundraising events, society ladies performing at matinees or sewing comforts for the troops. It even launched a Tatler Games Bureau, dedicated to collecting board games for the amusement of wounded soldiers.
The magazine, overseen by editor Edward Huskinson from 1908 to 1940, favoured press snapshots of the week’s events while its illustrations were mostly for the amusement of its readers. Regular Tatler artists included Lewis Baumer, George Belcher and H. M. Bateman, who in the 1920s and 1930s would become more closely associated with the magazine through his famous “The Man Who” series of cartoons.
The illustrator perhaps most synonymous with the magazine during the Great War era is Annie Fish, whose modern, linear illustrations accompanied the “Letters of Eve” column. First appearing in May 1914 and written by Olivia Maitland-Davidson, the column ran throughout the war and provided a witty, gossipy record of a society girl’s preoccupations and irritations of daily life on the home front. Such was the popularity of Eve, her image was the subject of a book, a stage revue, a series of short films and was replicated in jewellery and on fabric.
The Tatler absorbed The Bystander magazine in 1940 and is still published today as a monthly magazine by Condé Nast.