'Oliver Asking for More' by George Cruikshank


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 [compiler]
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British Library
Dex.316. - Vol I, part II

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