Mushroom Monstrosities A Nice Lady
in England
The Opera
of 1818
One of England's best known comic artists, George Cruikshank (1792-1878) started as a political satirist during the Regency and made his reputation as a book illustrator during the Victorian period. His savage attacks on the corrupt government and scandalous conduct of the Prince Regent circulated widely in his day, and reached a peak of virulence in cheap political tracts like William Hone's Political House that Jack Built (1819), which sold a hundred thousand copies. But he is probably best known for his brief and tempestous collaboration with Dickens on bestselling serial fiction, namely Sketches by Boz (1836) and Oliver Twist (1837-39).

The Library has been building an archive of Cruikshank books, prints, and drawings since 1913, when Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888, presented his collection to the University. The Library now has about five hundred books, five hundred prints, sketchbooks, drawings, and an extensive run of correspondence in the Manuscripts Division (C0256). For more information about Princeton's holdings see E. D. H. Johnson, "The George Cruikshank Collection at Princeton," The Princeton University Library Chronicle 85 (1973-74): 1-33.

Certain universal ideas predominate in this business. Cartoonists tackle many of the same subjects, each approaching them in a different style. Like Rowlandson, Cruikshank made light of contemporary fashion, travel, politics, and manners.