GEORGE CRUIKSHANK’S OMNIBUS, RIVAL TO BENTLEY’S MISCELLANY
CRUIKSHANK, George. George Cruikshank’s Omnibus. Illustrated With One Hundred Engravings on Steel and Wood. London: Tilt and Bogue, 1842. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter olive morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $750.
First edition in book form, containing 22 engravings on steel and 78 woodcuts, all but three by Cruikshank.
“George Cruikshank succeeded his father and James Gillray as England’s chief artist in comic ephemerae of all sorts. He could toss off city types and scenes from memory … and possessed an enthusiastic middle-class following. Cruikshank was at his best as an interpretive illustrator in books that permitted him to exercise his talent for comic exaggeration without distorting the author’s intent” (Hodnett, 114). In 1837 Richard Bentley published the first number of his once famous Miscellany, for which Cruikshank designed a cover, and supplied, as time went on, some 126 plates. Some of the illustrations are very unequal in merit, and can only be accounted for by the supposition that he was out of sympathy with his work or fretting for other enterprises. In 1841, when at variance with Bentley, though still under engagements to him, Cruikshank started a magazine of his own, The Omnibus, with Laman Blanchard for editor. Thackeray, who wrote ‘The King of Brentford’s Testament,’ was one of the contributors” (condensed from DNB). Cruikshank’s Omnibus first appeared in nine monthly parts from May 1841 to January 1842, shortly after his limited but very fruitful alliance with Charles Dickens. This is the first edition in book form, with a general title page. Cohn 190. Owner signature (and monogram on spine).
Scattered foxing to plates. Paper restoration to the Heartwell plate (not affecting image). Minor abrasions to boards. A lovely copy.