George Cruikshank (1792–1878) was, from the 1820s onwards, one of Britain’s most renowned satirical illustrators. His subjects included politicians, the anti-slavery movement, royalty and observations of everyday life.
He wrote on various subjects, too. This 16-page pamphlet – printed and published by Cruikshank himself (as many of his works were) – dispenses with his usual sardonic humour, apart from the cartoon at the front showing prospective robbers wondering what to make of the sign ‘No admittance except on business’. It is otherwise a serious, technically illustrated guide for householders on the methods used by burglars.
Clearly, security was a major worry for home owners of the time, with even state-of-the-art locks and shutters not guaranteed to deter the determined thief. Cruikshank’s text also laments the modern, mid-19th-century world as being both more intellectually advanced, but also more stupid, than ever before.