Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/193

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ROBERT'S BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS.

has numerous carefully executed etchings by the artist, after the style and manner of his brother; in the very signature, "Robert Cruikshank," we trace a distinct copy of George's peculiar trademark or sign-manual. Mr. Walter Hamilton, in his essay on the brother, presents us with a dozen copies of Robert's designs, eight of which, although unacknowledged, are taken from Crithannah's "Fables," and will bear as much comparison with the original and beautiful woodcuts as the work of a common sign-painter with a finished painting by Landseer. A detailed but probably imperfect list of the artist's book work will be found in the appendix.

The name of Robert Cruikshank has slipped out of the place it once occupied in public estimation; and his good work and his poor work being equally scarce, his name and his claims to rank high among the number of English caricaturists and comic artists have been forgotten even by the survivors of the generation to which he himself belonged. In bringing to the remembrance of those who do know, and to the knowledge of those who do not know, some of the work which entitled him in our judgment to occupy a leading place amongst the number of those of whom we write, we have endeavoured to brush away the dust of oblivion which for so many years has obscured the name and reputation of an artist, who, in spite of much slovenliness and carelessness of execution, was both an able caricaturist and a skilful draughtsman. George writes of his dead brother in terms of affection, and describes him as "a very clever miniature and portrait painter, and also a designer and etcher;" his friend and coadjutor, the late George Daniel, gives him credit for genius, of which however (in the sense in which we use and understand the word) he did not possess a particle. He tells us that "he was apt to conceive and prompt to execute; he had a quick eye and a ready hand; with all his extravagant drollery, his drawing is anatomically correct; his details are minute, expressive, and of careful finish, and his colouring is bright and delicate." In the early part of his career, as we have seen, the two brothers had been so closely associated in life and in art, that the history of Robert is, to some extent, the history of George; but when they