George Cruikshank (1792–1878) was, from the 1820s onwards, one of Britain’s most renowned satirical illustrators. Despite great popular success, his work did not bring him great wealth. He illustrated three books by Charles Dickens (1812–1870), but quarrelled with the author late in life: Cruikshank had become a fervent teetoller and opponent of alcohol, while Dickens advocated moderation.
This pair of signed photographs, taken by an unknown artist at an unknown date, shows Cruikshank and his second wife, Eliza. They are pasted into an edition of his collected works, Omnibus, which was published in 1842. The page was signed, rather shakily, by Eliza on her 80th birthday, 23 December 1887, and the book presented to the British Museum.
On his deathbed Cruikshank confessed to his wife that he had fathered 11 illegitimate children with their former maid Adelaide, the youngest when he was 82.
- Article by:
- Claire Wood
- The novel 1832–1880, The Gothic
Dr Claire Wood examines how Dickens blends multiple genres in Oliver Twist, including melodrama, the Gothic, satire and social commentary.