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Grolier Club Exhibitions

1840-1855: The Arrival of Messrs. Punch and Leech; Ainsworth’s Historical Novels; Cruikshank’s Path to Abstinence


Jack Sheppard. A Romance. By W. Harrison Ainsworth, Esq., Author of “Rookwood" and “Crichton.” With Illustrations by George Cruikshank. In three Volumes. London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street. 1839.

First serialized in Bentley’s Miscellany, Jack Sheppard became enormously popular. In early 1839, Ainsworth replaced Dickens as editor of the Miscellany, and over the next five years wrote six historical novels, all illustrated by Cruikshank. The first three were serialized in the Miscellany; the second three in Ainsworth’s Magazine, a monthly started by the author in January 1842 after breaking with Bentley. Cruikshank designed the wrappers and provided most of the illustrations.

Vol. I, p. 152, “The Name on the Beam.”

Punch and the London Charivari. Volume the First. London: Published for the Proprietors, at the Office, 194, Strand, and Sold by All Booksellers. 1841.

Containing the weekly issues of Punch from its first publication in July through December 1841. Each issue had one wood-engraving entitled “Punch’s Pencillings.”

“Punch’s Pencilling - No. XXII, Jack Cutting His Name On the Beam.”

A crudely executed rip-off by Ebenezer Landells of Cruikshank’s illustration from Jack Sheppard. Perhaps one reason that Cruikshank refused to design for Punch. To see his work so crudely imitated surely added insult to injury.


George Cruikshank’s Omnibus. Illustrated with One Hundred Engravings on Steel and Wood. Edited by Laman Blanchard, Esq. London: Tilt and Bogue, Fleet Street. MCCCXLII.

First issued in nine monthly parts from May 1841 through January 1842, Omnibus lasted less than a year despite its many amusing drawings.

“Preface - de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis.”

Having refused the entreaties of Punch’s editor, Mark Lemon, to join the new magazine, Cruikshank started his own.


Bentley’s Miscellany. Ingoldsby Legends. By Thomas Ingoldsby [Richard Harris Barham]. Illustrated by George Cruikshank and John Leech. 1837–1845.

This possibly unique volume contains the 41 Legends first serialized in Bentley’s Miscellany from 1837 through 1845 (Volumes I–XVIII), illustrated sporadically with 12 etchings, eight by Cruikshank, three by John Leech, and one by Robert Buss. Among other interesting material, the volume includes two original wrappers of the Miscellany, designed by Cruikshank: No. III, March 1, 1837 (edited by Dickens) and No. LVI, August 2, 1841 (edited by Ainsworth).

It appears that this compilation was prepared by Bentley himself a year before he died in 1871. Barham (1788–1845), was a cleric in the Church of England and a much honored friend of both Bentley and Cruikshank. The Legends were enormously popular, went through many editions, illustrated by many different artists.

Frontispiece for the 1870 edition of the Legends.

Designed by Cruikshank for Bentley a year before the publisher died as a peace offering for their 1839-1843 disputes.


The Bachelor’s Own Book; or The Progress of Mr. Lambkin, (Gent.), in the Pursuit of Pleasure and Amusement, and also in Pursuit of Health and Happiness. In Twenty-Four Plates, designed and etched by George Cruikshank. Glasgow: David Bryce & Son, 129 Buchanan Street. [1883] Third Edition.

This work was first published by Cruikshank and sold by David Bogue in 1844. The 24 etchings and original title page in this edition were all struck from the original steel plates and printed on 24 separate leaves.

“Mr. Lambkin finding that he has been variously and thoroughly befooled, foolishly dashes into dissipation to drown his distressful thoughts – He joins Jovial society and sings ‘The right end of Life is to live and be jolly!’ ”

George Cruikshank's Table Book. Edited by Gilbert Abbott à Beckett. London: Published at the [Punch] Office. Bradbury & Evans, Printers, Whitefriars.

Published in twelve monthly parts from January through December, 1845, each with a steel etching as frontispiece, plus 116 woodcuts and glyphographs in text by Cruikshank. Contributors of text include Horace Mayhew, Mark Lemon, Gilbert à Beckett and Michael Angelo Titmarsh [Thackeray].


The Bottle, In Eight Plates Designed and Etched by George Cruikshank. Dedicated to Joseph Adshead, Esq. of Manchester. London: published for the author by David Bogue, 86 Fleet-Street [1847].

Original publisher’s binding, half-brown morocco over dark green linen-covered boards; title and facsimile of author’s signature in gilt on top board. First edition of one shilling issue.

Plate VIII: “The Bottle Has Done Its Work – It Has Destroyed the Infant and the Mother, It Has Brought the Son and Daughter to Vice and to the Streets, and Has Left the Father A Hopeless Maniac.”

The Drunkard’s Children, A Sequel to The Bottle. In Eight Plates by George Cruikshank. One Shilling. Published for the Artist, July 1st, 1848, By David Bogue, 86 Fleet Street, London; John Wiley and G.P. Putnam, New York; and J. Sands, Sydney, New South Wales, of whom may be had “The Bottle.”

Title page pasted on recto of Plate I; Plates II–VIII are each printed on the recto of one leaf. First edition of one shilling issue. All plates were produced by glyptography, a new, cheaper form of etching that allowed the image to be printed in relief with the text, and the production of a much longer print run.

Plate VIII: “The Maniac Father and the Convict Brother are Gone – The Poor Girl, Homeless, Friendless, Deserted, Destitute, and Gin Mad, Commits Self Murder.”

The Glass. The Bottle’s Companion. n.a., n.p., n.d. No title page (title on spine). Binding by John Bumpus, 350 Oxford Street.

Twenty-one hand-colored engraved scenes, each divided by a vertical black line cut into 11 pieces, pasted on 11 separate leaves. (The Abbey copy at the British Art Center at Yale is identified as published in 1850 in accordion-fold format.) A little mystery album depicting a Hogarthian tale of the downfall of Mr. Gulp, clearly a parody of Cruikshank’s The Bottle. Who was this witty artist/engraver? Surely not Cruikshank. By 1850, he had become far too serious about himself and his crusade for abstinence.

Scenes 2 and 3: "Mr. Gulp being invited by many of the company to take wine, soon finishes his bottle, gets very excited, and proposes a toast to the ladies!”

George Cruikshank’s Fairy Library. London. Published by D. Bogue, 86 Fleet St., Price One Shilling.

Three small volumes: Hop-O’-My Thumb and the Seven League Boots [1853], Jack and the Bean Stalk [1854], and Cinderella and the Glass Slipper [1854], all published by David Bogue. The fourth volume of the series, Puss in Boots, was published by Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, Broadway, Ludgate Hill. [1864]. Each in original wrapper with same pictorial etched design around a different medallion with title, on heavy blue paper. Six steel etchings in each volume. Extra-illustrated with original drawings and watercolors for several of the etchings bound in.


Hop-O’-My Thumb and the Seven League Boots [1853].

“The Giant Ogre discovers Hop O’ My Thumb & his brothers whom his wife had endeavored to conceal from him.”

In late 1852, Cruikshank, anxious to generate income, returned to the source of some of his greatest successes: fairies and giants. Rather than hiring a writer, he did the “editing” himself, salting his first tale, Hop, with some clumsy temperance propaganda.

Dickens, a growing critic of the temperance movement, published an anti-temperance article entitled “Whole Hogs” in Household Words earlier that year. When Hop appeared a year later, the great author became incensed and published another angry article in his magazine excoriating Cruikshank for having despoiled the precious realm of fairyland. Cruikshank, devastated by his friend’s criticism, responded in the February 1854 issue of his magazine, a copy of which is shown nearby. Sadly, although the letter from Hop to Dickens and the illustrations for the tales were all charming, the famous author had thrown acid over Cruikshank’s fairy library, and the little volumes were a failure.

“A Letter from Hop-O'-My Thumb to Charles Dickens, Esq. Upon ‘Frauds on the Fairies,’ ‘Whole Hog,’ &c.” Published by D. Bogue, London [1854].

A reprint of Cruikshank’s letter to Dickens pleading his case for his version of fairyland in the face of Dickens’ stinging rebuke of the artist for turning the beloved tales into temperance pamphlets. The letter first appeared in the second (and final) issue of George Cruikshank’s Magazine, February 1854.