George Cruikshank (1792–1878) was, from the 1820s onwards, one of Britain’s most renowned satirical illustrators. His subject matter included politicians, the anti-slavery movement, royalty and observations of everyday life. He also illustrated novels – indeed, among his most famous illustrations are those he created for Dickens's Oliver Twist (1838).
This iconic image shows Oliver asking for more food, much to the rage and shock of the master. It reappeared in John Forster’s biography The Life of Dickens in 1872.Cruikshank had been a friend and colleague of the author, also illustrating The Mudfog Papers and Sketches by Boz. However, he quarreled with him later in life, mainly over their differing attitudes to temperance (after youthful heavy drinking, Cruikshank became a firm advocate of abstinence from alcohol, while Dickens preferred moderation); the artist even claimed in a letter to The Times in 1871 that Dickens had stolen the plot of Oliver Twist from him.
- Full title:
- Facsimile drawing. 'Oliver Asking for More' by George Cruikshank. [from the author's presentation copy of The Life of Dickens, 1872-74]
- n.d., London
- Artwork / Facsimile
- George Cruikshank , John Forster as compiler
- Held by:
- British Library
- Dex 316 - Vol I, part II
- Article by:
- Ruth Richardson
- Poverty and the working classes, The novel 1832 - 1880, London
The hardships of the Victorian workhouse led Oliver Twist utter the famous phrase ‘Please Sir, I want some more’. Here Ruth Richardson explores Dickens’s own experiences of poverty and the social and political context in which he was writing.