Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/177

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In perusing various articles on George Cruikshank in which reference is made to the "Life in London," we have been struck with the almost utter absence of Robert Cruikshank's name; further than this, it seems to have been the almost universal impression that it was his association with George on this memorable book which secured such, reputation as Robert himself enjoyed. So far, however, was this from being the case, that not only was Robert, in 1821, a caricaturist and satirist of acknowledged reputation, but he was believed at this very time by the general public to be the cleverer artist of the two. Robert, indeed, has been treated with curious injustice in relation to this famous book, which owes its very existence (as we shall presently see) to him alone. While according to George (as in effect they do) the whole merit of the performance, many of the writers of the articles referred to acknowledge that they find it impossible to assign to him his share of the illustrations; and that difficulty will be largely increased to any one who has studied Robert Cruikshank's caricature work. The fact is that few of these famous plates will bear comparison with the best of Robert's pictorial satires; while the kindred book of the "English Spy," which was illustrated (with the exception of one plate) by Robert alone, contains designs quite equal to those which adorn the "Life in London." When it is admitted that Robert executed three parts of these illustrations, while those who have written upon him say that they are unable to identify