Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the George Cruikshank letters, 1845, 1868 MS 297

creator Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878
Title: George Cruikshank letters
Dates: 1845, 1868
Abstract: Two autographed letters by George Cruikshank, one addressed to Angus B. Reach, 1845, the other addressed to Captain [Edwin] Hurley, 1868.
Identification: MS 297
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft.2 letters (1 folder)
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical Sketch

George Cruikshank, born in London on September 27, 1792 to a Scottish painter, Isaac Cruikshank, and his wife, was an English humorist and illustrator. Briefly educated at Edgeware, he is considered by some to be one of the best humorists that Britain ever produced. Cruikshank began his career as a political satirist but moved on to become a book illustrator. He also had a late interest in oil painting, enrolling in the Academy Schools as a student at the age of sixty-four. In his lifetime he created nearly 10,000 prints, illustrations, and plates. His early drawings often featured attacks on Britain’s royal family. In the 1820s his preoccupation with political caricature waned, however, as he became more interested in theatrical caricatures and book illustrations. Cruikshank produced some of his best-known work for Charles Dickens, beginning with Sketches by Boz, (1836) and reaching an apex with Oliver Twist, Oliver Twist, (1838). Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Pilgrim’s Progress, Paradise Lost, and seven novels by William Harrison Ainsworth were among other works he illustrated.

Cruikshank married Mary Ann Walker (1807-1849) on October 16, 1827. Two years after her death, on March 7, 1851, he married Eliza Widdison. Later in his life, Cruikshank supported the temperance movement, creating prints illustrating the evils of alcohol. Collections of his works are in the British and the Victoria and Albert museums. George Cruikshank died February 1, 1878.

Scope and Contents

Two autographed letters by George Cruikshank. One letter, dated November 7, 1845 is addressed to Angus B. Reach (1821-1856), a journalist and author of Clement Lorimer, or, The Book with the Iron Clasps. George Cruikshank provided twelve etchings for this novel. Another letter, dated March 20, 1868 is addressed to Captain [Edwin] Hurley. This letter is mounted in a slip-cased bound volume, with a portrait (etching) of George Cruikshank (Daniel Maclise, 1833). .


This collection is arranged into the following two series:
Series I: Letters, 1845, 1868
Series II: Related materials, 1833


Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from the George Cruikshank letters, 1845, 1968 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878
Hurley, Edwin
Reach, Angus B. (Angus Bethune), 1821-1856
Artists--England--History--19th century
etchings (prints)

Related Materials

See Robert L. Patten: George Cruikshank research materials, MS 493, Woodson Research Center

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

George Cruikshank letters, MS 297, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University


The 1868 letter was donated in 1970; the 1845 letter was purchased in 1980.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Letters, 1845, 1868

Box Folder
1 1 Autographed letter to Angus B. Reach. Cruikshank writes that he "shall be home all tomorrow afternoon - and shall be most happy to see you." Cruikshank continues, "I have also been turning over the matters we spoke of and am anxious - not to knock our heads together, but our ideas," 1845, November 7
1 Autographed letter to Captain [Edwin] Hurley. The letter is signed "George Cruikshank, Lt. Col., 48 [Middlesex Volunteers]." Cruikshank writes that "the men of your corp were much disappointed at not receiving their prizes." Cruikshank offers his services in the matter and expresses hope to "have a good account of your health…." This letter is mounted in a slip-cased bound volume, 1868 March 20

Series II: Related material, 1833

Box Folder
1 1 "George Cruikshank," etching by the Irish artist, Daniel Maclise, along with a page from Fraser's Magazine (1830-1882), "Gallery of Literary Characters," 1833 August