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Art and Cultural Histories

One cannot understand an artist without understanding the social, artistic, and cultural atmosphere in which he or she worked.  Cruikshank was very much a man of his time and the following works are essential to fully understanding him and his work.


Everitt, Graham.  English Caricaturists and Graphic Humorists of the 19th Century: How They Illustrated and Interpreted Their Times.  London: S. Sonnenschein, 1893.

            ART NC1475.E8 1893 (the 1886 first edition of this work is in the Rare Book Collection: RBC NC1475.E8 1886)

            This work is full of information about the social and political events that were fueling 19th century artists.  It also includes biographical information about caricaturists of the day, with a section on Cruikshank himself.  This source includes some important and interesting Victorian gossip about Cruikshank, like the mistakes other biographers made when writing about him, and the highly publicized quarrel he had with Charles Dickens.


George, M. Dorothy.  Hogarth to Cruikshank: Social Change in Graphic Satire.  London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1967.

            ART and DAVIS FOLIO NC1470.G42 1967a

            This large work is full of illustrations, many of which are in color.  This book is about graphic social satire before the days of fashionable illustrated journalism.  During the 18th century, political and social prints were quite popular and were sold separately.  The author traces the development of this art form from Hogarth’s work in the 18th century to the end of the 19th century with examples from Cruikshank and his contemporaries.


Hodnett, Edward.  Five Centuries of English Book Illustration.  Aldershot, England: Solar Press, 1988.

            DAVIS REF and RBC FOLIO NC978.H55 1988

            This work is divided into two parts.  The first part is “A Critical Account of 5 Centuries of Literary Illustration” and traces it from the 15th to the 20th century.  The second part is “A Selective Catalog of Illustrations and Illustrated books.”  This is a good general account of illustration, and puts Cruikshank into an historical context.


Katz, Bill.  A History of Book Illustration: 29 Points of View.  Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1994.

            SILS and DAVIS NC960.H56 1994

            This book discusses the development of book illustration from Paleolithic cave art to the beginning of the 20th century.  Cruikshank is best known for the illustrations he did for Charles Dickens, and this work gives a good historical background to that commission.


Lynch, Bohun.  A History of Caricature.  Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1974.

            ART NC1325.L9 1974 (the 1926 first edition is in Davis Library: DAVIS NC1325.L9 1926)

            This is a reprint of a work published originally in 1926, thus includes little information about caricature in the twentieth century.  It is good, however, as a source that traces the development of caricature from Antiquity through the 19th century and Cruikshank’s career to the beginning of the twentieth century. 


Matthews, Roy T. and Peter Mellini.  In ‘Vanity Fair.’ London: Scholar Press, 1982.

            ART NC1478.V36 M37 1982

            This work looks at the illustrations and caricatures found in the popular British weekly, Vanity Fair.  This work highlights works from 1868-1914, illustrating the type of caricatures that were being published near the end of Cruikshank’s life and for 20 years after, demonstrating some of the influence he had on other Late Victorian and Edwardian graphic artists, as well as how we remember notable figures from the period today.


Miller, J. Hillis.  Charles Dickens and George Cruikshank:  Papers Read at a Clark Library Seminar on May 9, 1970.  Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, 1971.

DAVIS PR4588.M53

These two papers outline some of the comparisons between and the relationship between George Cruikshank and Charles Dickens, for whom he illustrated several works.  They developed a unique relationship during their careers, and even had a widely publicized argument, which the Victorian public thrilled over.


Sitwell, Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell.  Trio:  Dissertations on Some Aspects of National Genius. London:  Macmillan, 1938.

            DAVIS PR403.S5 1938

            This work is interesting to see whom Cruikshank joins in the rankings of “national geniuses” of England.  He’s included with such prided English institutions as Dickens and the architect, Palladio.  This work proves that fifty years after his death, Cruikshank was still realized as one of the Greats, not just in terms of artists, but in terms of all professions.


Wood, Marcus.  Radical Satire and Print Culture 1790-1822.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

DAVIS PR936.W66 1994   

This work shows the artistic and social atmosphere in which Cruikshank began his career as a young illustrator.  It is an in-depth and scholarly look at the radical satire and print culture of Great Britain.  Because Cruikshank was just beginning his career during the time the author is discussing, he gets nearly a full column of references in the index.

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