Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/460

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358
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

Moon" (now exceedingly scarce).[1] In these and very many other works we find him associated not only with George Cruikshank, John Leech, Hablot Knight Browne, and Richard Doyle, but with artists occupying the position of Sir John Gilbert, Frank Stone, Maclise, Clarkson Stanfield, Creswick, E. M. Ward, Elmore, Frost, Sir J, Noel Paton, Frederick Goodall, Thomas Landseer, F. W. Popham, Fairholt, Harrison Weir, Redgrave, Corbould, and Stephanoff. He was a thoroughly useful man; and a thousand examples of quaint imaginings —oftentimes of graceful workmanship—might be culled from the various works and serials in which his hand may be readily recognised.

But the merits of Kenny Meadows as an illustrator of books are very unequal. His friend, Mr. Hodder, who gives us in his pleasant "Memories" an occasional note of some of the artists with whom he was thrown in contact, says of him: "The quiet, unostentatious way in which he worked at his art, too often under the most adverse and discouraging circumstances, and the pride which he displayed when he felt he had made a 'happy hit,' was somewhat like the enthusiasm of a youth who had first attained the honour of a prize. As a draughtsman he never cared to be guided by those practical laws which regulate the academic exercise of 'the pictorial art; for he contended that too strict an adherence to nature only trammelled him, and he preferred relying upon the thought conveyed in his illustrations, rather than upon the mechanical correctness of his outline or perspective." George Cruikshank showed, as we know, a tolerable contempt for nature when he undertook the delineation of a horse, a woman, or a tree; but it was one of the conditions of his genius that it should be left free and untrammelled to follow the dictates of its own inspiration, and the quaint effect which somehow or other he managed to impart to a design which, in its details might offend the educated taste of the art critic, made us forget the contempt too often displayed for those "practical laws" to which

  1. There is a scarce edition of the "Bon Gaultier Ballads," which contains some unacknowledged tailpieces, etc., by Kenny Meadows; in all subsequent editions these are omitted—why, we know not.