Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/279

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
195
CRUIKSHANK'S MANIFESTO.

Henry Forrester), had to be pressed into the service, and contributed leading etchings. Meanwhile, the cover of the "Miscellany" showed that George Cruikshank was nominally retained on the pictorial staff; and before the quality of his illustrations became so villainously bad that the object he had in view—that of forcing Bentley to cancel his engagement—had been attained, a draughtsman of unusual graphic power and versatility had come to the assistance of the magazine. This was a young man who had already executed many comic designs of a somewhat novel and original character, and was already forcing his way to the front: his name—familiar afterwards "in our mouths as household words"—was John Leech.

The "Guy Fawkes" illustrations were the outcome of the first campaign between Bentley and Cruikshank; and as the history of the quarrel between the publisher and his unmanageable artist is a somewhat amusing one, we may be pardoned for describing it at length. The engagement from which he sought to free himself, and which he stigmatized as "a one-sided one," obliged Cruikshank to supply Mr. Bentley with at least one etching every month; and as Bentley continued to advertise him as the illustrator of the "Miscellany," George commenced the second campaign by issuing in the opening pages of the opposition venture the following characteristic manifesto:— "Mr. Bentley, the publisher," says the indignant George, "evidently wishes to create the supposition that I illustrate his 'Miscellany.' On the contrary, I wish the public to understand that I do no such thing. It is true that, according to a one-sided agreement (of which more may be heard hereafter), I supply a single etching per month. But I supply only that single etching. And even that can hardly be called my design, since the subject of it is regularly furnished to me by Mr. Bentley, and I have never even read a page of any of the stories thus 'illustrated.'

"Yet Mr. Bentley not only advertises me as the illustrator of his 'Miscellany,' but he has lately shaped his advertisement thus, in the papers as well as on the wrapper of his magazine: 'Illustrated by Geo. Cruikshank, etc.' Are his other artists worthy only of being merged in an etc.? This is, indeed, paying them but a poor