Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/278

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194
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

and so would Quilp, or Sampson Brass, the Yorkshire schoolmaster, Newman Noggs, Lord Frederick Verisopht, Captain Bunsby, or even Mr. Pecksniff himself; but only fancy, on the other hand, the horrors which would have been made of Dolly Varden, of Edith Dombey, of "Little Em'ly," of dear, gentle, loving little Nell! Happily for the fame of George Cruikshank, his imagination was not called into requisition for any one of these creations, and like the "annunciations," the "beatifications," and the "apotheoses'"' of Lockhart, they remain (we are thankful to say it) still unrealized!

The Feud with BentleyThe quarrel with Dickens was followed by a very bitter and very singular feud between the artist and Bentley. Into the causes of that quarrel we need not enter; suffice it to say that to the misunderstanding we owe some of the very worst etchings which Cruikshank ever designed, the series of illustrations to Harrison Ainsworth's novel of "Guy Fawkes." The worst of all is the Vision of Guy Fawkes at Saint Winifred's Well, and a very singular "vision" it is. The saint has all the appearance, with all the grace, expression, and Symmetry of a Dutch doll arrayed in a pocket handkerchief; the sky is "machine ruled;" the pillars and tracery of the ruined chapel are architectural impossibilities; while at the very first snort, the slumbering figure of Guy Fawkes must roll inevitably into the well towards the brink of which he lies in dangerous propinquity. These illustrations provoked the ire of the publisher and the remonstrances of the author, both of which were disregarded with strict impartiality. In 1842, Harrison Ainsworth retired from the conduct of the "Miscellany," and set up a rival magazine of somewhat similar plan and conception, which he christened after his own surname. This opposition venture appears to have been the result of a misunderstanding between the editor and publisher, the most serious outcome of which was, that when Ainsworth left he carried with him George Cruikshank.

The secession of George caused Mr. Bentley the greatest possible inconvenience. The straits to which he was reduced may be imagined by the fact that A. Hervieu (an artist of considerable ability), and the clever, well-known amateur, Alfred Crowquill (Alfred