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Primary Sources

What better way to understand an artist than to read his own papers and view his own artwork?  The following sources are works illustrated by or written by Cruikshank himself.


The Bee and the Wasp: a Fable in Verse With Illustrations Designed and Etched by George Cruikshank.  London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1861.

            RBC PR4705.F655 B4 1861

This is a gorgeous little work with red leather Victorian binding.  It is an excellent example of some of Cruikshank’s contemporary works available in the Rare Book Collection.


Cruikshank, George.  The Bottle in 16 Plates.  London:  Gowans & Gray, 1906.

            DAVIS NC1479.C835 1906

This is a “reproduced facsimile from the first editions, which were published in large folio size in 1847 and 1848 and had a very great vogue.”  This is one of Cruikshank’s popular series of etchings depicting the evils of alcohol.  It is a great way to see how an original edition might have looked.


Cruikshank, George. Illustrations from the Comic Almanack (1835-1853).

            RBC FOLIO NC1479.C9 C6

            This is a bound volume of all Cruikshank illustrations from the Comic Almanack that appeared between 1835 and 1853.  The Comic Almanack was a satirical periodical to which Cruikshank regularly contributed his work.  Unfortunately, the context of the journal is missing, as someone has carefully cut out all of his illustrations and mounted them into this single volume.  It is still a good source to see 19th century examples of his work.


George Cruikshank’s papers, 1827-1897.

            MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION #11005

This is “a collection of letters received by George Cruikshank, chiefly about the temperance movement, invitations to lecture and to attend social events, requests for assistance and autographs and illustrations for worthy causes; copies of about thirty letters written by George Cruikshank; manuscript fragments; scattered references to Cruikshank’s drawings and designs; two caricature sketches by Cruikshank, possible of Queen Victoria; letters to Mrs. Eliza Cruikshank.”  This collection is a great source for reading some of Cruikshank’s everyday thoughts on the temperance movement, if you can decipher his scrawling handwriting. 


The William A. Whitaker George Cruikshank Collection

RBC (the majority of this collection is not available through UNC’s online catalog.  You will need to search the Rare Book Collection card catalog or meet with a Rare Book Librarian to locate items in this collection)

This large collection contains over 150 volumes illustrated by or relating to George Cruikshank.  It includes Cruikshank illustrations from well-known texts including Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and Oliver Twist.  It also includes individual works of his own, including the The Bottle and his illustrations for the periodical The Comic Almanack.  The Rare Book Collection is actively building this collection, and it is a wonderful and extensive collection of primary and secondary sources alike.


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