Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/241

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CHAPTER VIII.


GEORGE CRUIKSHANK AT HIS PRIME.


Alterations in Cruikshank's Style.Those who have studied the work of George Cruikshank from its commencement to its close (and those only can be said to have done so who are familiar with the satires described in the previous chapter), cannot fail to be struck with the alterations which took place in his style at different periods of the career we have already been considering. George Cruikshank's peculiar style and manner, which enable us to recognise his work at a glance, was the outcome of a very slow and gradual process of development. In the first instance he closely copied Gillray, but soon acquired a manner of his own, blending the two styles after a fashion which is both interesting and amusing to follow. Soon, however, the style of the master was discontinued, and gradually the artist began to discover that the bent of his genius lay in altogether another direction. Unlike Thomas Rowlandson, the moment Cruikshank became an illustrator of books, he realized the fact that the style adapted to graphic satire was unsuitable for the purposes of this branch of art, and thenceforth he adopted a style differing from anything which had gone before. The revolution thus accomplished (a singular proof of the genius of the man) was effected without effort, and is strikingly manifest in an early book illustration representing the execution of Madame Tiquet and her accomplice, in 1699. The design to which we refer, which we believe is rare and little known, was engraved by H. R. Cook, from a design by the artist for the frontispiece to a collection of narratives by Cecil, "printed for Hone," in 1819, and stands by virtue of its force and character apart from most of the book illustrations of the period. From the