For the 18th century journal, see Tatler (1709 journal). For other uses, see Tatler (disambiguation).

September 2014 cover
Editor Kate Reardon
Categories Fashion
Frequency Monthly
Total circulation
(June 2013)
Founder Clement Shorter
First issue 1901
Company Condé Nast Publications
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Website Tatler.co.uk

Tatler is a British glossy magazine published by Condé Nast Publications focusing on fashion and lifestyle, as well as coverage of high society and politics. It is targeted towards the British upper-middle class and upper class, and those interested in society events, and its readership is the wealthiest of all Condé Nast's publications.[2] It was founded in 1901 by Clement Shorter. Tatler also has editions in local languages in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia.


Tatler was introduced on 3 July 1901 by Clement Shorter, publisher of The Sphere. It was named after the original literary and society journal founded by Richard Steele in 1709. For some time a weekly publication, it had a subtitle varying on "an illustrated journal of society and the drama". It contained news and pictures of high society balls, charity events, race meetings, shooting parties, fashion and gossip, with cartoons by "The Tout" and H. M. Bateman.

In 1940, it absorbed The Bystander, creating a publication called The Tatler and Bystander.[3] In 1961, Illustrated Newspapers, which published Tatler, The Sphere, and The Illustrated London News, was bought by Roy Thomson.[4] In 1965, Tatler was rebranded London Life.[5][6] In 1968, it was bought by Guy Wayte's Illustrated County Magazine group and the Tatler name restored.[7] Wayte's group had a number of county magazines in the style of Tatler, each of which mixed the same syndicated content with county-specific local content.[7] Wayte, "a moustachioed playboy of a conman"[8] was convicted of fraud in 1980 for inflating the Tatler's circulation figures from 15,000 to 49,000.[9]

The magazine was sold and relaunched as a monthly magazine in 1977, called Tatler & Bystander until 1982.[6] Tina Brown (editor 1979–83), created a vibrant and youthful Tatler and is credited with putting the edge, the irony and the wit back into what was then an almost moribund social title. She referred to it as an upper-class comic and by increasing its influence and circulation made it an interesting enough operation for the then owner, Gary Bogard, to sell to the Publishers Condé Nast. Brown subsequently transferred to New York to another Condé Nast title, Vanity Fair.

After several later editors and a looming recession and the magazine was once again ailing, and Jane Procter was brought in to re-invent the title for the 1990s. The circulation rose to over 90,000, a figure which was exceeded five years later by Geordie Greig. The magazine created various supplements including The Travel and Restaurant Guides, the often referred to and closely watched Most Invited and The Little Black Book lists, as well as various parties.

Kate Reardon became editor in 2011. She was previously a fashion assistant on American Vogue and then, aged 21, became the youngest ever fashion director of Tatler.[10] Under Reardon's directorship, Tatler has retained its position as having the wealthiest audience of Condé Nast's magazines, exceeding an average of $175,000 in 2013.[2]

In 2014 the BBC broadcast a three-part fly-on-the-wall documentary television series, titled Posh People: Inside Tatler, featuring the editorial team going about their various jobs.[11]

Little Black Book

One of Tatler's most talked about annual features is the Little Black Book. The supplement is a compilation of "the most eligible, most beddable, most exotically plumaged birds and blokes in town", and individuals previously featured have included those from a number of backgrounds: aristocrats and investment bankers sit alongside celebrities and those working in the media sector.

Editors and contributors

Past and present editors

Clement Shorter 1901–
Edward Huskinson 1908–40 Killed 14 November 1941 by a train at Savernake station, Wiltshire.[12]
Reginald Stewart Hooper 1940–45 Died in office. Previously editor of The Bystander from 1932.[13]
Col. Sean Fielding 1946–54[14] Later of the Daily Express.
Lt-Col. Philip Youngman-Carter 1954–57 Earlier worked for Fielding as editor of Soldier.[15]
Harry Aubrey Fieldhouse 1960–61[16]
Mark Boxer 1965 Officially "editorial director" of London Life. He was also the Times political cartoonist and creator of The Sunday Times Magazine.[5]
Ian Howard[5] 1965–
Robert Innes-Smith[7] 1968
Leslie Field 1978– The first woman, and only American, editor.[17]
Tina Brown[18] 1979–83
Libby Purves 1983[19][20]
Mark Boxer 1983–88[20] Second term; retired just before his death from brain cancer.[21]
Emma Soames 1988–90[20]
Jane Procter 1990–99[22]
Geordie Greig[23] 1999–2009[24] Resigned to become editor of the Evening Standard.[24]
Catherine Ostler 2009–2011 Previously editor of the Evening Standard's ES magazine, resigned December 2010.[20][25]
Kate Reardon 2011– Previously contributing editor of Vanity Fair and fashion editor of Tatler before that. Also a columnist for the Daily Mail and The Times.[26]

Past contributors

Other editions

There are also 14 Tatlers in Asia – Hong Kong (launched 1977), Singapore (1982), Malaysia (1989), Thailand (1991), Indonesia (2000), Philippines (2001), Beijing (2001), Shanghai (2001), Macau, Taiwan (2008), Chongqing (2010), Jiangsu (2010), Sichuan (2010) and Zhejiang (2010). The Asian Tatlers are now owned by the Swiss-based Edipresse Group.


  1. "Mag ABCs: Full circulation round-up for the first half of 2013". Press Gazette. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Tatler Media Pack" (PDF). Condé Nast.
  3. http://www.allposters.co.uk/-sp/Tatler-Front-Cover-Ginger-Rogers-Posters_i6835986_.htm [All Posters Tatler and Bystander Front Cover]
  4. City Editor (28 November 1961). "Magazine Group Purchased By Mr. Thomson New Development Planned, "Illustrated" Ring Accept Offer.". The Times. p. 12,col.G.
  5. 1 2 3 "Editor For 'London Life'". The Times. 20 November 1965. p. 6,col.C.
  6. 1 2 Riley, Sam G. (1993). Consumer magazines of the British Isles. Historical guides to the world's periodicals and newspapers. Greenwood Press. p. 209. ISBN 0-313-28562-4.
  7. 1 2 3 "The truth about the new Tatler". The Observer. 10 March 1968. p. 40.
  8. "Queen of society revels in the spirit of mischief". The Guardian. London. 12 October 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  9. "Former magazine chief is convicted of fraud". The Guardian. 1 February 1980. p. 2.
  10. "Everyone loves new Tatler editor Kate Reardon". Evening Standard. 21 December 2010.
  11. "Posh People: Inside Tatler". BBC Programmes. BBC. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  12. "Obituaries: Mr. Edward Huskinson". The Times. 19 November 1941. p. 7,col.E.
  13. "Obituary: Mr. R. S. Hooper". The Times. 4 September 1945. p. 6,col.E.
  14. "Resignation of Editor Of 'The Tatler'". The Times. 20 September 1954. p. 4; col F.
  15. Philip Youngman-Carter, by B.A. Pike, The Margery Allingham Society
  16. Wintour, Charles (11 March 1993). "Obituary: Harry Fieldhouse". The Independent. London. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  17. Garner, Raymond (29 March 1978). "Raymond Garner takes tea with the Tatler, which is reborn next week with an American editor". The Guardian. p. 11.
  18. 300 Years of Telling Tales, Britain’s Tatler Still Thrives Eric Pfaner, The New York Times, 5 October 2009, p.B7
  19. Morris, Rupert (6 July 1983). "Libby Purves forced to resign by Tatler ethos". The Times. p. 3, col.D.
  20. 1 2 3 4 Brook, Stephen (10 February 2009). "Catherine Ostler confirmed as Tatler editor". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  21. Perera, Shyama (21 July 1988). "Tributes as cartoonist Mark Boxer dies at 57". The Guardian. p. 20.
  22. also sacked very publicly Lane, Harriet (23 May 1999). "Tatler editor missing believed culled". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  23. 'The Entertaining Mr Sloane: An Interview With Geordie Greig', The Observer, 1 May 2005
  24. 1 2 Luft, Oliver (3 February 2009). "New Tatler editor to be announced next week as Geordie Greig departs". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  25. Tatler editor Catherine Ostler to step down. Press Gazette, 20 December 2010
  26. Mediaweek.co.uk

Further reading

External links

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