Yes, Spys, not spies. This refers to a collection of caricatures produced by Leslie Ward, for the Vanity Fair company, between the 1860’s and 1914, and he used “Spy” as his trade mark. Carlo Pellegrini also produced a prolific amount of work and his Vanity Fair cartoons are signed “Ape”.
Many of these illustrations now command high prices, and a good selection are to be found in La Preghiera, www.lapreghiera.com.
An enlarged history of these fabulous works is contained in www.soldierssoldiers.com, under prints and postcards.
And why Italian Spys? Well, Pellegrini was Italian, and Vanity Fair produced sketches of a number of notable Italians, including King Emannuelle, the Duke of Aosta, ambassadors, men of the day, musicians and artists, and our businesses are in Umbria, Italy.