CRUIKSHANK’S ILLUSTRATIONS FOR DICKENS’ JOSEPH GRIMALDI
(CRUIKSHANK, George) [DICKENS, Charles]. Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi. Edited by “Boz.” With Illustrations by George Cruikshank. A New Edition. London: Richard Bentley, 1846. Two volumes in one. Octavo, early 20th-century full maroon morocco gilt, raised bands, top edge gilt, uncut; original cloth bound in at rear. $450.
Second English edition of Dickens’ engaging account of “what [clowns] did with themselves out of pantomime, and off the stage,” with hand-colored frontispiece portrait of Grimaldi by Harris after DeWilde, a second frontispiece portrait by Greatbatch after Raven, and 12 full-page etchings by Cruikshank.
Cruikshank’s illustrations for the Memoirs “make those by ‘Phiz,’ the commonly acknowledged illustrator of Dickens, seem tame in conception and feeble in drawing… Cruikshank etched as Dickens wrote. Both were townsmen to the core and cockneys to their fingertips. London leaps to life through their art” (James, 29). “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). While “Boz” is only credited as the editor of the Memoirs, “Richard Bentley, the publisher of the book… stated that Dickens wrote much of this work” (Eckel). See Eckel, 140-41; Gimbel B64. Cohn 238.
Text fine, light embrowning to plates (less than usual), joints expertly reinforced.