John Leech was a British caricaturist and illustrator. He was best known for his work for Punch, a humorous magazine for a broad middle-class audience, combining verbal and graphic political satire with light social comedy. Leech catered to contemporary prejudices, such as anti-Americanism and antisemitism and supported acceptable social reforms. Leech’s critical yet humorous cartoons on the Crimean War helped shape public attitudes toward heroism, warfare, and Britain’s’ role in the world.
Leech also enjoys fame as the first illustrator of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. He was furthermore a pioneer in comics, creating the recurring character Mr. Briggs and some sequential illustrated gags.