University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

George and Robert Cruikshank Collection

1812 - 1875

Collection Number: GRA 100
Accessioned: Gift of W. Atlee Burpee, 1960, and later accessions.
Extent: 5 boxes, 1 oversize box (1 linear ft.)
Contents: Artwork, including pencil drawings, pen and ink drawings, watercolor paintings, etchings, and engravings and autographed letters.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1996 by Iris Snyder

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Table of Contents

Biographical Notes


George Cruikshank (1792-1878), illustrator and cartoonist, was born in Bloomsbury, London, the son of Isaac Cruikshank, an illustrator and painter. His brother Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856) was also an artist and often collaborated with him. Taught to draw and etch by his father, Cruikshank published political caricatures in magazines before he was twenty years old. He became known for his caricatures ridiculing King George IV and for his social satires such as "Monstrosities" which focused on the extremes of fashion.

Following the success of his plates for the book Life in London (1821), Cruikshank turned increasingly from caricature to illustration. He produced both collections of his own humorous drawings and serious illustration for other authors such as Charles Dickens and the Brothers Grimm. In 1847, he became a believer in the cause of alcohol prohibition and remained active in the temperance movement until his death.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, Cruikshank's satiric style was out of fashion, but he strongly influenced later humorists like Phiz and Leech whose work defined the great British humor magazine Punch.


Isaac Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), caricaturist, illustrator, and portrait miniaturist, was the brother of George Cruikshank. After schooling, he went to sea as a midshipman before beginning his artistic career as a portrait miniaturist and etcher. His early caricatures were often produced with his brother George with whom he shared a studio. Robert's reputation was overshadowed by his brother's growing fame as a political cartoonist. After 1830, Robert abandoned caricatures for book illustration. Like his brother, his artistic style went out of fashion and he died largely forgotten.


Dictionary of British Cartoonists and Caricaturists 1730-1980. Compiled by Mark Bryant and Simon Heneage. Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1994.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of paintings, drawings, and prints done by George (1792-1878) and Robert (1789-1856) Cruikshank, primarily for book and magazine illustration between 1812and 1875, as well as a small group of letters of George Cruikshank. The first series is a collection of approximately 78 original paintings, drawings, etchings and prints, presented to the University of Delaware Library by W. Atlee Burpee, Jr. in 1960, along with a few additional items from other sources. Most of the drawings and watercolor paintings were done for book illustrations. The books range from the very early Ancient Legends (1818) to later works including Comic Almanacs for 1842, 1844, and 1852 and The Bottle (1847). Other books represented are Ingoldsby Legends, Yule Log, The Fairy Library, My Sketch Book, The Tower of London, and Sketches of Irish Character. Also included are drawings for political pamphlets, magazines, tracts and miscellaneous unidentified drawings and etchings. There is also a group of original autograph letters, some of which include sketches.

The second series includes a group of 30 pen and ink and watercolor drawings by Robert Cruikshank which were originally thought to be for Fifty-one Original Fables (1833), written by Jonathan Birch who used the pseudonym Job Crithannah. However, when the sketches were compared to a copy of the book, it was evident that they were not the exact drawings used in the book. Because of the similarities in both style and design, it is likely that this collection represents preliminary or alternate drawings for the book. The paintings, arranged two to a page, are octagonal about 2 1/2" by 2" in size. Most are signed "R.C." while others have a full signature. Several contain hand-written notes to the printer.

Series Outline


 I.  George Cruikshank
     1.   George Cruikshank Artwork
     2.   George Cruikshank Correspondence

II.  Robert Cruikshank Artwork

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1                SeriesI.1 George Cruikshank Artwork

     F1   "The Bottle"  7.5 x 11.2 cm.  
          A pencil drawing titled and signed by George Cruikshank; executed on the reverse
          of a card admitting George Cruikshank to a show of the works of Flaxman. 
     F2   "Some Passages in the life of a disappointed man" 12 x 16.5 cm.  
          Original drawing for Bentley's Miscellany, 1837.  The original drawing is in color 
          and is matted with one of the finished etchings for the drawing 12 x 21.5 cm..      
          (Shelved with oversized material). 
     F3   Versameling Nederlantse, Amsterdam, n.d. 19 x 25 cm.  
          George Cruikshank's copy with his signature on the title page and a self portrait of           
          George Cruikshank at the top of the title, as well as an original sketch of George       
          Cruikshank for one of the etchings. 
     F4   "Netle Abby" and "The Bagman's Dog"  43 x 28 cm.  
          Two pen and ink drawings and one pencil drawing on one sheet.  These drawings        
          are for the Ingoldsby Legends or Mirth And Marvels by Thomas Ingoldsby,         
          London, 1855.  From the collection of H.W. Bruton, who was one of Cruikshank's
          executors. These drawings were all reproduced in woodcuts but none of them    
          appeared in the finished work.  Drawings on the second sheet are all scenes         
          illustrating "The Bagman's  Dog."  (Shelved with oversized material).  
     F5   Fairy  Library--cover design  19 x 23.8 cm.  
          Original pencil and wash drawing signed for "Hop o' My Thumb" and "The Seven         
          League Boots."
     F6   "Sir John thrown in a muddy ditch by Thames Side" 23.2 x 21 cm.
          Original pencil drawing signed for The Life of Falstaff, the book written by Robert
          B. Brough.  The drawing is titled "A first sketch for the finished plate of page 188."
          It is slightly different in treatment than the finished drawing.  Below this drawing 
          is another sketch which corresponds with the reproduced engraving. 
     F7   "The Generals" 11.5 x 13.4 cm. 
          Sketch in color, signed; with a copy of the published woodcut of the sketch. 
     F8   "Guy Fawkes--cover designs"  12 x 5 to 17.5 x 10.5 cm.  
          Four different sheets on which Cruikshank has sketched drawings.  Plans for the           
          lettering on the title page and ideas for illustrations. 
1         Series I.1 (cont.)
     F9   "St. George and the Dragon"  11.3 x 7.5 cm.  
          Original watercolor drawing together with a portrait of a man in watercolor on the        
          same sheet, both done on a card from Pentonville. 
     F10  [Original drawing of a Preacher] 10.5 x 13.5 cm.  
          Half length portrait character study emphasizing the idea of pious authority.             
          Signed by Cruikshank. 
     F11  Original drawings for My Sketch Book 18 x 23 cm. 
          Autograph manuscript embellished with numerous sketches.  This manuscript       
          page is signed on the recto and verso of the sheet.  It was drawn for the first part          
          of Part 3 of My Sketch Book entitled "The Fox and the Goose." 
     F12  Frontispiece to "Bellimara, or the Fall of Tunis" 11.5 x 12.5 cm.  
          Original watercolor drawing for the book Ancient Legends by John Kerr which          
          was published in London, 1818.  With full signature; with an India paper             
          illustration of the drawing. 
     F13  [Pen and ink drawing of an old man] 11.5 x 13 cm.  
          He has cheeks sunken in and only one tooth visible. 
     F14  [Man and devil] 15.5 x 20.5 cm.  
          Original watercolor drawing for Ingoldsby Legends, fully signed. 
     F15  Original watercolor drawings for Comic Almanac 1842-1844-1852       
          11 x 18 to 22.5 x 17.5 cm.   
          The drawings include one of dogs which is fully signed; 
          another is of a servant preparing for a toast; another, for the Almanac 1852, 
          has a note in Cruikshank's hand mentioning Sandboys, with sketches on 
          the reverse and at the bottom of the letter, and the announcement of Sandboys, 

 2   F16  "A Present For An Apprentice" 14 x 9 cm.  
          An original pen and ink and wash drawing, matted with the finished engraving for          
          Franklin's "Way of Wealth," London, 1838.  
 2         Series I.1 (cont.)
     F 17 Two water color drawings for The Yule Log For Everybody's Christmas 
          Hearth by L.A. Chamerzow, published in London, 1847.  23 x 19 cm.          
          Two finished drawings, both signed, on one sheet and tiny drawings in the margins
          in pencil, the first depicting "The Fairy Parliament" and the other depicting "Abel
          dreaming."  The first drawing, "The Fairy Parliament," depicts a fairy queen seated          
          beneath a toadstool with her consort. The second drawing. "Abel Dreaming," 
          depicts Robin, eldest son of Abel, destroying the farmer's will by casting it in the
          fire, while the latter is dying.  A detail drawing of the fairy queen appears in the
          margin, with three sketches of dogs.  (Shelved with oversized material).
     F18  [King and Queen at Brighton]  9 x 4.2 cm.  
          This is the drawing which was used on the block for reproductive purposes. 
     F19  [Man attacking wife with bottle]  22.5 x 17.5 cm.   
          Original pencil drawing signed, with a large signature beneath a drawing which       
          was done for The Bottle, published in London, ca 1847.   Around the 
          drawing on the edges of the paper used are numerous states of sketches by George           
          Cruikshank.  This drawing was planned and used for plate 7 of The Bottle.  
          The finished plate is titled "The husband in a state of furious drunkenness kills 
          his wife with the instrument of all their misery." 
     F20  [Cattle and pigs] 13 x 17.5 cm.  
          Original drawing by George Cruikshank. Seven studies.  Signed. 
     F21  [A man lying upon the pavement in a drunken stupor] 15.5 x 16.5 cm.  
          Beneath this drawing Cruikshank has written "By George Cruikshank for one of         
          Mrs. S. C. Hall's Temperance Tracts." 
     F22  "The Point of Honor" 18.5 x 10.5 cm.  
          Original drawing, unsigned, for Greenwich Hospital, being a series of  sketches        
          descriptive of the life of a Man of War's Man by an Old Sailor.  This drawing        
          faces page 72 in the book. 
     F23  [Figure of a man] 12 x 19 cm.  
          Original drawing for The Comic Almanack for 1851, with autographed draft        
          relating to "Female Immigration relating to the Scarcity of Domestic Servants."   
          The text is in the autograph of Cruikshank. 

2         Series I.1 (cont.)
     F24  "The Protestant House that Jack Built" 20 x 32 cm.  
          Original autograph manuscript with many original drawings by George             
          Cruikshank, 4 folio pages, London ca 1845, signed by George Cruikshank.  One of
          these drawings is reproduced as a woodcut on page 6 of a printed pamphlet           
          entitled "French Bandits."  It is an extremely important manuscript of satire.  With a       
          small portion of a leaf of manuscript with sketches by George Cruikshank and in the 
          autograph of George Cruikshank called "Pop Gun Fired Off--One  Important Principle
          in the Art of Farce." 
     F25  "Sketches of Old Nick" 10 x 16 cm.  
          Original drawing for Ingoldsby Legends.  Several sketches on the recto 
          and verso of the sheet on which, in the autograph of George Cruikshank, there are 
          various lists in pencil.  The sketch called "Old Nick" was not published.  There is 
          also a self-portrait sketch of George Cruikshank. 
     F26  [Figure of a male, left arm upraised] 10 x 10 cm.  
          Original watercolor drawing signed with initials.
     F27  "So, said Mr. Pop, as he took his seat in the bus" 16 x 18.5 cm  
          Sketch of a dog by George Cruikshank, unsigned.
     F 28 "The Fatal Duel Between Lord Randy and Sir Toby" 20 x 13 cm.  
     F29  "The Borough Candidate" 18.5 x 23 cm.  
          Original drawing with full signature published October, 1812. This is an allusion to
          the success of Charles Calvert, the brewer. The reverse has list of ideas in              
          Cruikshank's handwriting. 
     F30  [Horse's head] 11 x 15 cm.  
          Original drawing in pencil, embellished with two sketches, unsigned and numerous          
          ideas on the reverse of a letter which had been addressed to George Cruikshank. 
      F31 "Puss in Boots" 35.5 x 48 cm.           
          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 the subject description. The last drawing is signed 
          by Cruikshank.  This series is entirely different from the Fairy Library.  (Shelved 
          with oversized material).

 2        Series I.1 (cont.)
     F32  [Woman seated] 9 x 14.5 cm.  
          Autograph and Sketches--presentation inscription in ink.  The leaf evidently torn         
          from a book.  Inscribed "John Barnes, Esq., with the Compliments of George           
     F33  [Self portraits] 18.8 x 22.5 cm.  
          Original drawings for two self-portraits with several autograph memoranda,           
          sketches, profiles of Cruikshank, and numerous notes showing Cruikshank's       
          methods and plans. 
     F34  "The Tower of London" 11.4 x 9 cm.  
          Original watercolor drawing by George Cruikshank depicting the crown being           
          offered to Lady Jane Gray.  This small drawing is a study for a novel by 
          Ainsworth but evidently never used. 
     F35  [Man's face] 11 x 7 cm.  
          Autograph and sketch.  Portion of an autograph letter with initials and sketch in         
     F36  "Whom to Marry and How to get Married" 10.5 x 7 cm.  
          Original pencil drawing by George Cruikshank, signed in ink. 
     F37  "Hop o' My Thumb" 19 x 24 cm.  
          Original drawing by George Cruikshank for Fairy Library, published in London,        
          ca. 1851. The sketch on the recto is for the dust jacket and on the reverse,              
          heightened in color, is evidently another sketch for the same project or for one
          of the jackets of the series; signed George Cruikshank on one side and G. CK. on 
          the other.  With a copy of the book  Fairy Library.

     F38  [Seven drawings] 8 x 5 cm.-18 x  22 cm. 
          Some signed George Cruikshank. Included are "first sketch of the Battle of           
          Waterloo" done on the reverse of a letter written by George Cruikshank in 1827       
          but unsigned;  a series of sketches for "Mornings or More Mornings at Bow       
          Street", folio, signed,  written on the reverse of an autograph letter of Cruikshank; 
          "Golgotha", a satirical pencil drawing; "Sketches for Taglioni Portraits; and a           
          series of three portraits of judges.
3         Series I.1 (cont.)
     F39  [House with gardens laid out in front] 11 x 18 cm.  
          Original drawing by George Cruikshank with color.  Beneath, in the autograph of           
          Cruikshank, is the title: "The House and Garden of Old Montague House afterward 
          used as the British Museum and the site of the present Museum." 
     F40  [A study of cats] 12 x 8 cm.  
          Drawing signed G. CK. 
     F41  "Outlaw's Burial" 18.5 x 21 cm.   
          Signed, large drawing for Sketches of Irish Character with marginal drawings and          
          notes by George Cruikshank. 
     F42  "Bagman's Dog" 11.5 x 7 cm.  
          Original drawing by George Crulkshank for Ingoldsby Legends; tracing used on         
          the woodblock.
     F43  The Tower of London. 24 x 19 cm.  
          Original tracing for the woodcut for the illustration for the cover of the first          
     F44  "The Outlaw's Widow" 18.5 x 22 cm.  
          Original pencil drawings signed in ink for illustrations for Sketches of Irish       
          Character--woodcut headpiece of page 355.
     F45  [Portrait of a man] 16 x 20 cm.  
          Autograph draft of plans for some of George Cruikshank's work and an original        
          portrait sketch in color, possibly Robert Burns. 
     F46  [Interior] 23 x 18.5 cm.  
          Original drawing for an illustration by George Cruikshank showing the interior of a
          room with family and a sink, and a drunken man; together with a copy of the      
          finished etching; also the first sketch for this etching, smaller (18.5 x 19.8 cm.) 
          and later developed into the more finished plate; on the reverse of  the smaller 
          sketch is a small very slight sketch, probably the first idea for this subject. 
     F47  "I am a friar of Orders Grey" 27 x 18.5 cm.   
          A finished drawing in pen and ink and wash with three marginal pencil drawings. 
3         Series I.1 (cont.)
     F48  "Portrait of George Cruikshank," 20.5 x 30.5 cm.  
          First impression of an etching from the Halsey collection.  Presentation copy from        
          Dexter, who published the print, which was executed by Pailthorpe, a friend and           
          imitator of George Cruikshank. 
     F49  "Jack's trump of defiance" 16.5 x 19 cm.  
          Original drawing on tissue which appears on page 20 of the book Greenwich       
     F50  [two portraits] 6.5 x 11.5 cm.  
          Two small original watercolor portrait drawings, on one sheet:  one of a Captain          
          wearing a tri-cornered hat, the other of a florid-faced squire with small sketch of       
          the same person superimposed on the side of the drawing, signed G. Ck.  The 
          other signed in full, George Cruikshank. 
     F51  "The Queen and the Union, No Repeal, No O'Connell," 19.5 x 23 cm.               
           Political drawing in pencil with some color; published by Bogue in 1843. 
     F52  "Netley's Abbey," 28 x 22.5 cm.         
          Original pencil drawings, unsigned, for Ingoldsby Legends Vol. II, page 111; and          
          "Bagman's Dog" Vol.  I, page 317; in all 13 sketches on one large sheet.  From       
          the Bruton Collection (Geo. Cruikshank's literary executor). 

     F53  [Portrait] 7 x 3 cm.  
          Woodcut by George Cruikshank for The Captain on Half Pay.  Also engraving of 
          Cruikshank by C.E. Wagstaff. 13.5 x 20.5 cm.
     F54  Peter Schlemehl 19 x 27 cm. 
          Collection of seven original proofs of the etchings.
     F55  "Bruce Attacked by Assassins," 14 x 10.5 cm.  
          Pen and ink drawing.

     F56  "Lorimer Littlegood" Each about 14 x 16.5 cm.
          Three watercolor drawings for the story which appeared in Sharpe's London       
          Magazine, 1855-56:  "Mr. Weazel Renews an Old Friendship,"  "Cue [?] in a       
          Corner," and "The Falcon and the Dove". 
     F57  [Men] 11 x 18 cm.  
          Pencil and watercolor sketches of men, some soldiers, signed.

3              Series I.1 (cont.)
     F58  "The Royal Academy," 15 x 14 cm.  
          Original water color signed twice by Cruikshank.  This drawing was reproduced in          
          the Comic Almanack for 1844.  (Shelved with oversized material). 

     F59  [Multiple figures] 18 x 22.5 cm. 
          Pencil drawing, signed "early sketch by me Geo Cruikshank,"                     
          Multiple sketches including a clown, probably Grimaldi, and a female figure,         
          probably Queen Caroline.  (Shelved with oversized material.) 

     F60  "John Bull And His Family of Toymakers", 45.3 x 30 cm. 
          Bull is  shown arriving on a desert island w  ith bundles and parcels of  toys spread       
          in confusion over the complete foreground and the delighted welcome of the           
          inhabitants.  The margins of the drawing are crowded with pencil and ink sketches 
          of coaches, gloves, boots and harness.  Signed by Cruikshank.  (Shelved with 
          oversized material.) 

     F61  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.  18 x 23 cm.  Matted with self-portrait of 
          Cruikshank.  (Shelved with oversized material.)
4    Series I.2 George Cruikshank Letters
     F62  1849  August 12, AL to T.H. Strangways. 
               Signature cut out.    

     F63  1852  December 28, ALS to William Mites, Esq. 

     F64  1861  May 25, ALS to Edwin Truman
          Truman was one of the greatest of Cruikshank collectors. Signed by Cruikshank        
          but in the autograph of a secretary.  Invitation to tea and stating he will look over          
          sketches and caricatures; envelope preserved with George Cruikshank's signature 
          on the corner.
     F65  1866  October 24, ALS to Charles A. Howell, Esq.
          With regard to a public meeting on the subject of the eviction of the poor. With         
          addressed envelope.
     F66  1870  February 22, ALS to Edwin Truman. 
          With a tiny humorous sketch within a question mark.

4         Series I.2 (cont.)
     F67  1870  July 26, ALS to Edwin Truman. 
          Regarding some woodcuts of the Cruikshank family, with the original envelope        
          also signed. 

     F68  1870  August 12, ALS to Edwin Truman. 
          With the envelope  marked "Not one of those you sent yesterday are by my father,          
          my brother, or yours truly."

     F69  1873  June 27, ALS to Edward Truman. 
          Original envelope signed in the corner, G. CK.

     F70  1874  December, ACS from the Royal Polytechnic Institution; card for the        
          stalls, signed by Cruikshank. 

     F71  1875  October 15, ALS to Charles J. Leaf.   
          Asking for money which was due him and with regard to an institution in              
          Manchester in which he was interested.   
     F72  Undated. AL in the hand writing of George Cruikshank 
          To the editor of The Aesthetic Review concerning "The Bottle," with water color           
          sketch at the end unsigned. 
     F73  Undated.  ALS to Mr. Barker. 
          "I caught cold Saturday  ... You are always welcome to come.  Should you not call
          this evening please let me know on Monday.  Yours truly."   With newspaper           
          clippings of Cruikshank's obituaries.
     F74  Undated.  AL 
          Regarding an etching which was endorsed by George Cruikshank. 
     F75  Envelope addressed by George Cruikshank.  To Charles Kent.  No signature. 

             Series II Robert Cruikshank Artwork

     F1   A group of 30 pen and ink and watercolor drawings possibly preliminary or
          alternative images for Fifty-one Original Fables (1833)  written by Jonathan Birch
          who used the pseudonym Job Crithannah.  The paintings, arranged two to a page, 
          are octagonal about 2.5" by  2" in size.  Most are signed "R.C." while others have
          a full signature.  Several contain hand-written notes to the printer.

     F2   [Man and woman on bucking horse] 12.5 x 9 cm.
          Watercolor sketch, unsigned.  Matted and encased in plastic.
     F3   [Couple dancing] 11.5 x 8.5 cm.
          Watercolor sketch, full signature.  Matted and encased in plastic.

     F4   [Two men in swordfight, one run through with sword] 10 x 6.6 cm.
          Watercolor sketch, full signature. Matted and encased in plastic.

     F5   [Two couples dancing] 11.7 x 9.7 cm.
          Watercolor sketch, full signature.  Matted and encased in plastic.

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