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|Size||About 2025 items (1.5 linear feet)|
|Abstract||George Cruikshank was a British artist, social and political caricaturist, and illustrator. The collection includes correspondence about the temperance movement; invitations to lecture and to attend social events; requests for assistance, autographs, and illustrations for worthy causes; copies of about thirty letters written by Cruikshank; manuscript fragments; and scattered references to Cruikshank's drawings and designs. Also present are two caricature sketches by Cruikshank, possibly of Queen Victoria; letters to Cruikshank's wife, Eliza Cruikshank; and a separate series of correspondence to Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson (1827-1896), physician and crusader for various preventative medicine projects, who served as executor for the estate of George Cruikshank, primarily about the estate.|
|Creator||Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878.|
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George Cruikshank was born on 27 September 1792 in London. His father, Isaac Cruikshank, was one of the leading caricaturists of the late 1790s and George started his career as his father's apprentice and assistant. Isaac Robert Cruikshank, George's older brother, also followed in the "family business" as a caricaturist and illustrator. George's early work was caricature; but in 1823, at the age of 31, Cruikshank started to focus on book illustration. His first major work was Pierce Egan's Life in London (1821), and he also illustrated Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist (1846). He achieved early success collaborating with William Hone in his political satire The Political House That Jack Built (1819).
In the late 1840s, Cruikshank's focus shifted from book illustration to his obsession with temperance and anti-smoking. He supported, lectured to, and supplied illustrations for the National Temperance Society and the Total Abstinence Society among others. Works such as The Bottle (1847) and The Drunkard's Children (1848) are examples of his efforts to encourage temperance. Cruikshank was made vice president of the National Temperance League in 1856.
Cruikshank developed palsy in later life and his work declined in quality. He died on 1 February 1878 and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson (1828-1896), physician and crusader for preventative medicine, served as executor for the Cruikshank estate.Back to Top
The George Cruikshank collection includes correspondence about the temperance movement; invitations to lecture and to attend social events; requests for assistance, autographs, and illustrations for worthy causes; copies of about thirty letters written by Cruikshank; manuscript fragments; and scattered references to Cruikshank's drawings and designs. Also present are two caricature sketches by Cruikshank, possibly of Queen Victoria; letters to Cruikshank's wife, Eliza Cruikshank; and a separate series of correspondence to Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson (1827-1896), physician and crusader for various preventative medicine projects, who served as executor for the estate of George Cruikshank, primarily about the estate.Back to Top
Primarily letters to George Cruikshank containing invitations to preside over, address, or attend meetings of various regional temperance societies. Other letters request autographs, illustrations, and or charitable contributions. Cruikshank frequently noted whether he accepted or declined the invitation on the letter. Often pencil or pen "doodles" or sketches are present. In a few cases, Cruikshank drafted a reply or made notes on the letter received. Letters by Cruikshank include: 7 February 1827 (to Dr. Knights, re: caricatures); 25 August 1842 (re: Comic Almanack); 20 July 1847; 6 Aug. 1852; 28 June 1855 (copy of reply); 12 December 1860; 24 June 1865 (re: "Worship of Bacchus"); 23 December 1868; 29 April 1869; 29 April 1870; 15 June 1871; 13 March 1872; 27 June 1877. A September 1850 letter to Cruikshank contains a pencil note about his work, "Stop Thief"; a partial manuscript of the work is present in Series 2, folder 47. Correspondents include: London Temperance League, Total Abstinence Society, National Temperance Society, and the British Association for the Promotion of Temperance.
Note that most letters dated after Cruikshank's death on 1 February 1878 are addressed to his widow, Eliza Cruikshank.
Arrangement: alphabetical by correspondent.
The letters are roughly arranged by correspondent. The final folder of the series contains fragments of letters, unsigned letters, and letters with illegible signatures.
folder 46 of this series contains notes and drafts by Cruikshank, many with pencil or pen sketches or studies. folder 47 contains a three leaf manuscript fragment for "Stop Thief." Also present is the 16 page text of a 5 January 1869 speech by Cruikshank for the National Temperance League and "Directions for Coloring Photographs" (both not in Cruikshank's hand). On the verso of a memorandum of agreement between Joseph Hogarth and Cruikshank concerning his picture, "The Culprit Detected," are two sketches, one in pencil and the other in ink, presumed to be Queen Victoria. folder 48 contains two manuscript fragments: an incomplete play (35 pp.) and a poem entitled "Cath-Loda" written over extracts from "Hudibras" (16 pp.).
Correspondence directed to Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, noted physician and preventative medicine pioneer. Richardson was executor for Cruikshank's estate and the bulk of the correspondence pertains to settling Cruikshank's affairs.
Packet of clippings regarding Sir Richardson's death, a 10 April 1897 obituary for Sir Richardson in The Spectator, a manuscript note concerning Eliza Cruikshank's death, and an interview with Sir Richardson about George Cruikshank clipped from the Daily Chronicle of 9 February 1895.