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One cannot mention the history of illustration without mentioning George Cruikshank.  Cruikshank was born on Duke Street in Bloomsbury, London in 1792.  His father, Isaac Cruikshank was a well-known engraver and caricaturist, and from an early age, George worked at his side, learning the techniques of etching, watercolor, and sketching.  By his early twenties, Cruikshank was already producing caricatures and illustrations for London publishers.  It was the beginning of a long and prolific career, which included illustrations for some of the most famous Victorian novels, including Robinson Crusoe and Oliver Twist.  Cruikshank also produced many works on his own, including the highly acclaimed, The Drunkard’s Children, which illustrated the negative affects alcohol has on family life.  Cruikshank was well known for preaching temperance and pointing his fingers at the wrongs of society.  For these admirable causes as well as for his artistic talent, Cruikshank was much revered by his contemporaries, and is still acclaimed by the British today as one of their greatest Victorian artists.  When he died in 1878, the journal Punch published an obituary that began, “England is the poorer by what she can ill-spare – a man of genius.”

Works about Cruikshank and his art were published almost immediately after his death, and have continued to be published ever since.  He has been the focus of numerous exhibitions and art students all over the world study his use of wit and satire in his drawings.  This pathfinder is only a sample of some of the more useful resources available on George Cruikshank at the Libraries of UNC-Chapel Hill. 


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