Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/282

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

an attendant dolphin, who is so overcome with the whimsicality of the proceeding that he is making the most violent efforts to restrain his laughter. This last shot probably hit the mark, for only three etchings appear in vol. xiv., and not one afterwards. George was victorious; but there are victories and victories, and a triumph won at the cost of an artistic reputation is as disastrous as a defeat.

The Misunderstanding with Ainsworth.Harrison Ainsworth's long connection with the artist had taught him that he was one who would be neither driven nor led, and he was wise enough to accommodate himself to circumstances. The admirable woodcut design at the head of that division of the magazine which was known as "Our Library Table," shows us the artist and the handsome editor in consultation, and the attitude of the two men is indicative of the fact that Ainsworth is attentively listening to the advice or suggestions of his coadjutor, a fact to which Cruikshank himself has been particular to draw our attention. To the free and unfettered conditions under which Cruikshank co-operated with Ainsworth we owe a series of the most justly celebrated and valuable of his designs. In matters, however, connected with art, Cruikshank was, as we have seen, a difficult man to get on with, and it was fairly safe to predict that a quarrel between the author and artist was a mere question of time. The artist remained on the staff of "Ainsworth's Magazine" for three years, enriching its pages with some of the choicest efforts of his pencil. At the end of that period came the unfortunate but almost unavoidable misunderstanding; and George Cruikshank, as he had done with Bentley, withdrew from the concern. Unlike Bentley, however, Ainsworth appears not only to have foreseen, but to have made preparations for the inevitable; and accordingly, when George Cruikshank retired, his place was immediately taken by an artist of talent, destined to win for himself a considerable position among the ranks of designers and etchers: this was Hablot Knight Browne, then and now known to us under his monosyllabic nom-de-guerre of Phiz.

It seems to us fitting in this place to say a few words on the subject of George's pretension to be the originator of two o.