Henry Alken (1785-1851)
Henry T. Alken is one of the most renowned and popular of British sporting and genre artists and engravers. He was the son of another engraver, Samuel Alken--known for his topographical as well as sporting scenes--, and father of Samuel Henry Alken, who followed in the steps of his forbearers as an engraver and artist. Alken is famous for his sporting prints (indeed on some of his early plates he used the name 'Ben Tally-Ho') as well the many humorous series he produced in the 1820s.
"The First Steeple Chase on Record." Set of four prints. Oxford: Ben Brooks, March 1, 1839. Second edition. Aquatints. Original hand color. Very large margins. Very good condition. Lane, Sporting Aquatints and their Engravers, p. 60.
This set of four prints is a second edition with the initial publication being issued by Ackerman in the same year. The vivid compositions and the quality of the etching make these classic British sporting prints highly desirable. $1,600
Illustrations of popular songs of the day, Alken's imaginative vignettes illustrate the songs line by line. Their fine execution and hand-color make them wonderful examples of Alken's work. $125 each
A series of caricatures of people in different situations. Each plate has a number of delightful vignettes, showing Alken's wit and skill. $125 each
Another series exhibiting Alken's humorous, yet sensitive view of his fellow man. $65 each
In this series, Alken combines his expertise in sporting prints and caricature. $175 each
Henry William Bunbury (1756-1811)
Henry William Bunbury, known as the "gentleman draughtsman," was a graduate of Cambridge and equerry to the Duke of York. As one of the most popular caricaturists of his time, Bunbury produced gently satirical illustrations of social life that were used by many of the leading engravers of the day, including Bartolozzi, Rowlandson, Dickinson and Gillray. Because his caricatures were not as caustic as some, he was able to appeal to the most fastidious of connoisseurs, such as Horace Walpole. His illustrations, however, show wit and insight.
George Cruikshank (1792-1878)
As a child, George Cruikshank learned to etch and draw from his father Isaac, a caricaturist who was credited as the first to lampoon Napoleon Bonaparte. At 19, George replaced his father, who was completing James Gillray's final, unfinished work. With this auspicious project, the younger Cruikshank began a working career that would span over 70 years and earn him the title "Gillray's heir." Among his noted works are caricatures of Napoleon's exploits as well as the exaggerated fads and fancies of the English gentry. In addition to his humorous topics, Cruikshank used his art to address concerns about alcohol and its effects on society and the family. Today, art historians view him as the last great master of the etched caricature.
"Flying Artillery, or A Horse Marine, . ___" Credit to "Geo[rge] Cruikshank fect." And "Pubd. By Js. Robins & Co. Ivy Lane R.R. Row." London, 1811-1815. Etching (original hand coloring). 8 x 5 5/8 (image) plus text and borders. Framed to archival specifications. A bright piece.
An example of the early productivity of George Cruikshank (1792-1878) when he was closely imitating James Gillray's style, but before he had such a factory of artists that later included his father and son. From 1811 to 1816, the height of the Napoleonic Wars, this prolific caricaturist produced etched satires for Town Talk and later more for The Meteor. This comic scene capitalized on military terminology about light or horse artillery and illustrates how, indeed, military horses can fly. $225
In these wonderful prints, Jerry Hawthorn and Corinthian Tom are shown in various scenes of Regency London. Not only are these charming examples of the Cruikshanks' work, they also provide an insightful glimpse of 'Life in London.' $65 each.
Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811)
Isaac Cruikshank, Scottish painter and caricaturist, was born in Edinburgh. His sons Isaac Robert and George also became artists, and the latter in particular achieved fame as an illustrator and caricaturist. Cruikshank is known for his social and political satire.
Isaac Cruikshank. "A Necessary War, or Quixotism Revived or the Knight of the Little House." London: Jno. Sqabble [sic] Oxford St, March 12, 1792. 8 3/4 x 13 (image). Engraving. Original hand color. Full margins. George 8165.
Sir George Younge holds a pen (instead of a match) to the touch hole of his cannon so that he can blast the door off an outhouse. One pane is already blown off, and a young lady prepares to chop the door with a huge axe. An elderly lady resists the other one. Dorothy George relates that this caricature depicts a squabble over possession of a house that Younge sold to Sir John de la Pole. Possibly the property is the Great House at Colyton, which is reduced here to a "necessary house." A wonderful image intended to feed gossip and mirth. $850
Attributed to Isaac Cruikshank. "A Magisterial Visit." London: Fores, 1795. 11 7/8 x 8 3/4. Etching. On laid paper with fleur de lis watermark. Hand color. Very good condition. George 8686.
Three British drinkers are alarmed when a magistrate exercises his license to disperse meetings by drinking their punch. The greater implication of the law is under the table where a dog labeled "Pitt" (Prime Minister William Pitt) snatches a bone from a muzzled "John Bull" dog. $1,200
Attributed to Isaac Cruikshank. "Young Roscius and his Pappa in company with John Bull." London: S.W. Fores, January 4, 1805. 8 1/8 x 12 5/8. Etching. On laid paper with fleur de lis watermark. Original hand color. Very good condition. George 10458.
John Bull with Master Betty Roscius and his father. They are presented as rivals on the British stage to Mrs. Siddons and J.P. Kemble on the wall. The triple ostrich feathers on Master Betty's chair indicate patronage by the Prince of Wales. $800
Isaac Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856)
Like his brother George, Isaac Robert Cruikshank learned his trade from his father, Isaac. Originally setting himself up as a portrait and miniature painter, he later returned to printmaking, often collaborating with George. In 1830, he left caricature work to focus on book illustration.
"Who's affraid!! Or Great & Glorious news for Old England!!!" London: J. Johnstone, August 1809. 8 3/4 x 12 3/4. Etching. Original hand color. Very good condition. George, 11353.
As a comic leitmotif for poets and satirists, Sir William Curtis (1752-1829) appeared often in caricature prints throughout his political career. Born into a family of sea biscuit-bakers in Wapping, Curtis was first alderman and then Lord Mayor of London. A personal friend of George IV, he appeared nonetheless as a boor to the public. Stout and illiterate, Curtis' speaking skills were said to have led, unintentionally, to the expression, "three R's: reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic," which he used as a banquet toast (not intending the pun now implied). Here, the then-alderman Curtis sails on his yacht, accompanying the British fleet en route to an embarrassing defeat at Walcheren. Adding to the disgraceful nature of the expedition was the attitude of Curtis, who sailed his sumptuous yacht with the warships as though on a pleasure trip. The artist takes aim here at the alderman's gluttony (showing empty bones, bottles, various glasses, and larder), his poor speech (writing incorrect syntax and pronunciation), and indiscretion (juxtaposing the man of leisure with naval vessels, seen outside the window) with the wit and detail that distinguish Cruikshank caricature. $600
HB [John Doyle] (1797-1867)
By writing his initials twice-over, John Doyle manipulated the letters to create the pseudonym signature "HB". Born in Catholic Dublin, HB arrived in London in 1821, after the death of James Gillray. Thomas Rowlandson had aged, as well, and with him the era of biting, pointed caricature in London. As HB began his career, he introduced a gentler sort of satire, making soft jokes calculated to avoid strong offence. Rather than exaggerating physical features and pushing the bawdy laugh, Doyle employed reasonable likenesses with circumstantial humor. Even the subtle, sketchy appearance of his lithography marked a change from the loose, brash lines of colored etchings, a medium that had dominated caricature printing for the previous half-century.
Remembered by historians for his staunch support of the Reform Act of 1832, English Whig Lord John Russell appears here as a tailor, proffering a new style of breeches for the stout (and presumably slow-to-change) John Bull. $240
A new style of caricature entered the English world in 1828 with the advent of HB's (John Doyle) Political Sketches. They were a departure from what Dorothy George called "the uninhibited old school to a decorous new one." See her English Political Caricature: II, 218-19. The fine tonal qualities of lithographic drawing replaced the strong and angular etched lines of Gillray and Rowlandson. Most important though, reform was in the air as the Test Act was repealed and the Corn Laws and Catholic emancipation held up new hopes for the growing middle class. The death of George IV necessitated a new parliamentary election in which the Whigs gained and the old Tory leadership was lost with the resignation of Wellington. Doyle's prints signed "HB" were issued regularly from 1829 to 1849 with a tapering off thereafter to a final plate #917 issued in 1851.
This plate shows Wellington boiling down the problems of the session into four oversimplified tenets that include protecting Belgium as the only foreign policy needing attention and then Peel controlling the police, two other minor domestic problems with Ireland and general finances. $150
Brougham sits on the Woolsack in Parliament wearing a barrister's wig, (holding an old fashioned tricorn hat) instead of the chancellor's wig that he is supposed to wear. The "H" in the title is whited to stress that a pun is being conveyed through the minister's affiliation to the new liberal group. Looking on and registering shock or amazement are from left to right: Shaftsbury, Lyndhurst, Eldon and Wellington. $150
Filled with small detail, this print shows the Russian bear climbing a pole (Poland) to obtain a biscuit labeled "Liberty" held in the mouth of a distressed head atop the pole. Uniformed men representing the European powers watch and provoke the bear which faces obstacles such as skeletal hands pushing down from spikes at the top. A comment on the political situation in Europe. $175
This print shows the Tory reaction to Russell's premature exposure of the plan to disenfranchise sixty boroughs as part of the Reform Bill. Wetherell slumps into a chain with an exhausted grin because his borough of Boroughbridge was on the list. Everyone comments on the sadness of his giving his last speech: (from left to right) Twiss, Wetherell, Chandos, Peel, Goulburn, Grey, and Althorp. Trevelyan, plate 14. $100
Henry Hunt opposed the Reform Bill because it was not sufficiently radical. He expresses his concerns to a cheering mob that includes (from left to right): Sugden, Peel, Goulburn, Twiss, Wetherell, Ellenborough, Wellington, Cumberland, and Eldon. Below the wagon two mismatched dogs sniff one another. Politicians, like dogs, make strange bedfellows. $125
A play on the words "villainy" and "willany" echoing from a recent farce. King William sits at a library table and tells Melbourne that he cannot attend a City dinner that had been offered by Mr. Key, the Lord Mayor. The dinner had been to celebrate the Reform Bill which the king was not anxious to approve. He used gout as an excuse. $100
A gentle satire showing King William IV reading an ambiguous inscription: "Reform Bill." His subjects saw him as unintelligent, eccentric, undignified and foolish, but kind. He cannot decide whther the writing on the wall announces the Reform Bill or if it demands his own reform. Trevelyan, plate 17. $125
Inspired by Swift's Tale of a Tub, the major players in the Reform Bill are trying to catch a whale which represents the English public, from their tub of a boat. Grey has the tiller and William IV holds onto his crown with one hand and leans on Grey with the other. Others in the boat from left to right are Althorp, Brougham, Durham and Holland. On a ship in the background, Wellington expresses his concerns to Robert Peel. $175
Charles Weatherall tried to interfere with the work of the committee for the Second Reform Bill by speaking from four in the afternoon until seven the next morning. The clock on the wall attests to the later time. Members of the House of Commons who are asleep are O'Connell, Hume, Croker, Robert Peel and Goulburn. A fine scene of parliament. $150
Robert Dighton (1752-1814) & Richard Dighton (1795-1880)
Robert Dighton was a painter of portraits and decorative subjects and also an etcher of caricatures. Many of his portraits were made into prints by Carrington Bowles and beginning in the 1790s, he began to draw and etch caricatures, mostly humorous portraits. His son, Richard, followed in Robert's footsteps, producing caricatures in the same style after his father's death in 1814. Robert Dighton achieved some notoriety when he was found to have taken some Rembrandt etchings, without permission, from the British Museum.
Robert Dighton. "A View from Magdalen Hall, Oxford." London: Robert Dighton, June 1808. Etching on wove paper. 10 x 7 (image) plus borders. Hand color. Very good condition. George, Brit. Mus. Catalogue, 11074.
A nice example of Dighton's caricature portrait style. Depicted is Dr. Henry Ford wearing his academic gowns. He matriculated in 1776 and from 1788 to 1813 was a professor of Arabic. $325
James Gillray (1756-1815)
One of the best-known British caricaturists, James Gillray made a name for himself through his witty compositions, capable draftsmanship, and exquisite detail. Through his copious political satires, he set a new standard for the genre, becoming a measure by which his successors were judged. The prints he published through Hannah Humphrey's shop in London have become archetypes for caricaturists and include such famous images as world rulers carving up the globe at dinner.
Attributed to James Gillray. "Every Rogue is a Coward." London: Hannah Humphrey, 6 June 1801. Etching. Hand color. 10 x 14 (neat lines and plate marks). Full margins. Excellent condition.
Two riders on the road to Hounslow when Hounslow Heath was famous as a dangerous area due to highwaymen. The joke here is that each man is a highwayman and so each spontaneously assumes that the other is about to rob him. Being cowardly robbers, they spontaneously surrender to each other. A fine comedy of men, manners and understanding. $750
James Gillray. "PEN-etration." London: H. Humphrey, 1799. 10 1/4 x 7 1/8. Etching.Original hand color. Trimmed to neat lines. George: 9441.
Portrait of John Penn, grandson of the founder of Pennsylvania preening in a silly round hat and pantaloons; he is depicted as a particularly dim bulb. $675
James Gillray. "French Habits No. 10. Juge de Paix." London: [H. Humphrey, May 15, 1798-] Bohn ed. 1849. 10 x 7 1/2. Etching. Original hand color. $125
Attributed to James Gillray. "The Magisterial Bruisers." London: W. Humphrey, 1779. 8 x 12 3/4. Etching. Heavy laid paper. Very good condition. George 5616.
A brawl amongst magistrates in the Old Bailey. Samuel Plumbe is the Lord Mayor and William Plomer is his antagonist. A man behind Plomer resembles John Wilkes. $900
James Gillray. "Cymon & Iphigenia." Etching. Original hand color. On J Whatman paper watermarked 1815. 8 1/4 x 12 1/2. George 8908A.
A puzzle. In 1796, Gillray published a burlesque of the discovery of Cymon by Iphigenia from Garrick's adaptation of Dryden's version of the Boccaccio tale (George 8908). THis print is a reverse copy without an imprint on paper watermarked 1815. $650
James Gillray. "Judge Thumb." London: W. Humphrey, No. 227 Strand; [27 November 1782]-1818. 6 3/4 x 5 1/16. Etching. Hand color. On wove paper watermarked 1818. Excellent condition. George, 6123.
In 1782, Judge Francis Buller ruled that a man was allowed to beat his wife, provided that the instrument of violence was no larger around than his thumb. Even in the eighteenth century, this ruling was controversial, provoking Gillray to produce this satirical cartoon. According to one contemporary source, the artist's rendering of Buller's face was "a very striking likeness." Indeed, it is remarkably well-rendered and is clearly the object of Gillray's joke. As the working-class man in the background beats his wife with a regulation-sized stick, they serve as foils for the judge's folly. $325
James Gillray. "The Revolution of 1831. As Prophecyed by that learned Astrologer General, Ikey Wether-bridge. to whom this plate is dedicated, (Ex officio) by his Admiring Friend the Publisher -- 'die hard, die nobly, die like demi-Gods!!!' 'It is supposed, if the dog Johnny were permitted he would soon destroy the whole Breed.'" London: S.W. Fores, 1831. 8 1/4 x 12 3/8. Etching. Original hand color. George 16690.
Left to right, William IV protruding from Windsor Castle observes Lord Grey with a broom and a Bul Dof (John Bull) sweeping reform through rat burrows (Borough politics). One rat (Wetherell) has a human head. $850
A pair of fashion satires of a gentleman. In the back view wearing half boots with breeches tied below the knees, powdered hair and a cape collar and in the facing view wearing pumps, striped stockings and a profusion of scarves hiding his neck. $475
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