Dickens at 200: 1812–2012
An exhibition in Special Collections
Dickens’s Illustrators: George Cruikshank
George Cruikshank (1792–1878) was best known for his illustrations and caricatures which satirized English life and politics. Collaborators included writers William Hone, Pierce Egan, and William Harrison Ainsworth. Meeting Charles Dickens through Ainsworth’s publisher, John Macrone, Cruikshank illustrated Dickens’s Sketches by Boz (1836) and Oliver Twist (1838). In 1871 Cruikshank publically claimed that he was largely responsible for story and character development in Oliver Twist. Dickens’s friend and biographer John Forster vigorously refuted this claim in his Life of Charles Dickens.
“Puss in Boots” Original drawing in watercolor, undated. George and Robert Cruikshank Collection.
Seven original drawings in watercolor illustrating “Puss in Boots,” mounted on a folio sheet, the center of which is left blank, evidently as an idea for a broadside. Beneath each drawing there is a description, with the last drawing signed by Cruikshank. These illustrations are entirely different from the version published in George Cruikshank’s Fairy Library.
Original memorandum of an agreement, dated February 7, 1842, between George Cruikshank and William Harrison Ainsworth of Ainsworth Magazine, the author for whom Cruikshank made many plates. Matted with self–portrait of Cruikshank. George and Robert Cruikshank Collection.
The agreement states that Cruikshank will provide two illustrations on steel per month to Ainsworth for use in the monthly publication, “Ainsworth’s Magazine.”
As with Dickens, Cruikshank later publically claimed credit for creating not only the illustrations, but also the characters and plot for the novels of William Harrison Ainsworth. Cruikshank and Ainsworth engaged in a heated correspondence through The Times, with the newspaper eventually refusing to publish any of Cruikshank’s further responses. Cruikshank followed–up with a pamphlet entitled “The Artist and the Author” in which he reiterated his position.
An Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank. [London : H. Hooper, 1840].
The Political House that Jack built: with Thirteen Cuts. London: Printed by and for William Hone ..., 1819.
Frontispiece for “Bellamira, or the Fall of Tunis,” intended for Ancient Legends or Simple and Romantic Tales by John Kerr, 1818. Includes original watercolor drawing and reproduced proof. George and Robert Cruikshank Collection. .
A Man Lying Upon the Pavement in a Drunken Stupor. Pencil drawing, undated. George and Robert Cruikshank Collection.
Beneath this drawing Cruikshank has written “By George Cruikshank for one of Mrs. S. C. Hall’s Temperance Tracts.” During the 1840s Cruikshank became a vocal advocate of temperance. His growing obsession with the temperance movement and didacticism contributed to strained relations with Dickens.
A Descriptive Catalogue of the Works of George Cruikshank: Etchings, Woodcuts, Lithographs, and Glyphographs, With a List of Books Illustrated by Him: Chiefly Compiled from the Collections of Mr. Thomas Morson, Mr. Edmund Story Maskelyne, and Mr. Edwin Truman, by George William Reid; with an Essay on His Genius and Works by Edward Bell, M.A., and Three Hundred and Thirteen Illustrations. London, Bell and Daldy, 1871. Vol 3.
“The Last Chance,” from Oliver Twist, circa 1838.
“Hop o’ My Thumb”. Original drawing by George Cruikshank for Fairy Library, published in London, ca. 1851. With Cruikshank, George. Hop–O' My–Thumb and the Seven League Boots. London: David Bogue, 1853. George and Robert Cruikshank Collection.
Identification card for the Royal Polytechnic Institution, December 1784. Signed by George Cruikshank. George and Robert Cruikshank Collection.