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It would not, perhaps, be out of tiousness of the artist, and that shrewd place to glance through the whole pervading idea of form which is one of “ The Jack Sheppard plates, of his principal characteristics. Jack which are among the most finished is surrounded by all sorts of impleand the most successful of Mr. Cruik- ments of his profession; he stands shank's performances, and say a on a regular carpenter's table : away word or two concerning them. Let in the shadow under it lie sharings us begin with finding fault with and a couple of carpenter's hampers. No. 1, “Mr. Wood offers to adopt The glue-pot, the mallet, the chisellittle Jack Sheppard.” A poor print, handle, the planes, the saws, the on a poor subject; the figure of the hone with its cover, and the other woman not as carefully designed as paraphernalia are all represented it might be, and the expression of the with extraordinary accuracy and foreeyes (not an uncommon fault with thought. The man's mind has reour artist) much caricatured. The tained the exact drawing of all these print is cut up, to use the artist's minute objects (unconsciously perhaps phrase, by the number of accessories to himself), but we can see with what which the engraver has thought keen eyes he must go through the proper, after the author's elaborate world, and what a fund of facts (as such description, elaborately to reproduco. a knowledge of the shape of objects The plate of “Wild discovering is in his profession) this keen student Darrell in the loft ” is admirable of nature has stored away in his ghastly, terrible, and the treatment brain. In the next plate, where of it extraordinarily skilful, minute, Jack is escaping from his mistress, and bold. The intricacies of the tile- the figure of that lady, one of the work, and the mysterious twinkling deepest of the Bavúkontrol, strikes us of light among the beams, are excel as disagreeable and unrefined ; that lently felt and rendered ; and one of Winifred is, on the contrary, very sees here, as in the two next plates pretty and graceful; and Jack's of the storm and murder, what a fine puzzled, slinking look must not be eye the artist has, what a skilful forgotten. All the accessories are hand, and what a sympathy for the good, and the apartment has a snug, wild and dreadful. As a inere imita- cosey air ; which is not remarkable, tion of nature, the clouds and the except that it shows how faithfully bridge in the murder picture may be the designer has performed his work, examined by painters who make far and how curiously he has entered higher pretensions than Mr. Cruik- into all the particulars of the subject. shank. In point of workmanship, Master Thames Darrell, the handthey are equally good, the manner some young man of the book, is, in quite unaffected, the effect produced Mr. Čruikshank's portraits of him, without any violent contrast, the no favorite of ours. The lad seems whole scene evidently well and philo- to wish to make up for the natural sophically arranged in the artist's insignificance of his face by frowning brain, before he began to put it upon on all occasions most portentously. copper.
This figure, borrowed from The famous drawing of“ Jack carv
the compositor's desk, will ing the name on the beam,” which
give a notion of what we has been transferred to half the play
Wild's face is too bills in town, is over-loaded with violent for the great man of history accessories, as the first plate; but (if we may call Fielding history), they are much better arranged than but this is in consonance with the in the last-named engraving, and do ranting, frowning, braggadocio charnot injure the effect of the principal acter that Mr. Ainsworth has given figure. Remark, too, the conscien- I him.
“ The Interior of Willesden Church” | the manner of Hogarth, who is inis excellent as a composition, and troduced in the company. a piece of artistical workmanship; Murder of Trenchard” must be the groups are well arranged; and noticed too as remarkable for the the figure of Mrs. Sheppard looking effect and terrible vigor which the round alarmed, as her son is robbing artist has given to the scene. “The the dandy Kneebone, is charming, Willesden Churchyard ” has great simple, and unaffected. Not so “Mrs. merit too, but the gems of the book Sheppard ill in bed,” whose face is are the little vignettes illustrating screwed up to an expression vastly the escape from Newgate. Here, too, too tragic. The little glimpse of the much anatomical care of drawing is church seen through the open door not required; the figures are so small of the room is very beautiful and that the outline and attitude need poetical: it is in such small hints only to be indicated, and the designer that an artist especially excels; they has produced a series of figures quite are the morals which he loves to remarkable for reality and poetry too. append to his stories, and are always There are no less than ten of Jack's appropriate and welcome. The booz- feats so described by Mr. Cruikshank. ing ken is not to our liking; Mrs. (Let us say a word here in praise of Sheppard is there with her horrified the excellent manner in which the eyebrows again. Why this exag-author has carried us through the adgeration - is it necessary for the venture.) Here is Jack clattering up public? We think not, or if they the chimney, now peering into the require such-excitement, let our artist, lonely red room, now opening “ the like a true painter as he is, teach them door between the red room and better things.
the chapel.” What a wild, fierce, “ The Escape from Willesden Cage ”scared look he has, the young ruffian, is excellent; The Burglary in Wood's as cautiously he steps in, holding house” has not less merit; “ Mrs. light his bar of iron.
You can see Sheppard in Bedlam," a ghastly pic- by his face how his heart is beating. ture indeed, is finely conceived, but Iťany one were there ! but no! And not, as we fancy, so carefully exe- this is a very fine characteristic of cuted ; it would be better for a little the prints, the extreme loneliness more careful drawing in the female of them all. Not a soul is there to figure.
disturb him woe to him who should " Jack sitting for his picture” is and Jack drives in the chapel gate, a very pleasing group, and savors of and shatters down the passage door,
and there you have him on the leads. * A gentleman (whose wit is so cele- Up he goes! it is but a spring of a brated that one should be very cautious in few feet from the blanket, and he is good illustration of the philosophy of gone - abiit, evasit, erupit ! Mr. exaggeration. Mr. — was once behind Wild must catch him again if he the scenes at the Opera when the scene-can. shifters were preparing for the ballet.
We must not forget to mention Flora was to sleep under a bush, whereon were growing a number of roses, and
“ Oliver Twist,” and Mr. Cruikamidst which was fluttering a gay covey shank's famous designs to that work.* of butterflies. In size, the roses exceeded The sausage scene at Fagin's, Nancy the most expansive sun-flowers, and the butterflies were as large as cocked hats;
seizing the boy; that capital piece of the scene-shifter explained to Mr. humor, Mr. Bumble's courtship, who asked the reason why every thing which is even better in Cruikshank's was so magnified, that the galleries could version than in Boz's exquisite acnever see the objects unless they were enormously exaggerated. How many of * Or his new work, “The Tower of our writers and designers work for the London,” which promises even to surpass galleries ?
Mr. Oruikshank's former productions.
count of the interview ; Sykes's fare- | about a drawing-room like a lady's well to the dog ; and the Jew,- little spaniel. the dreadful Jew
— that Cruikshank If then, in the course of his life and drew! What a fine touching picture business, he has been occasionally of melancholy desolation is that of obliged to imitate the ways of sueh Sykes and the doy! The poor cur is small aniinals, he has done so, let us not too weil drawn, the landscape is say it at once, clumsily, and like as stiff and formal; but in this case the a lion should. Many artists, we faults, if faults they be, of execution hear, hold his works rather cheap; rather add to than diminish the effect they prate about bad drawing, want of the picture: it has a strange, wild, of scientific knowledge; — they would dreary, broken-hearted look; we have something vastly more neat, fancy we see the landscape as it must regular, anatomical. have appeared to Sykes, when ghastly Not one of the whole band most and with bloodsliot eyes he looked at likely but can paint an Academy it. As for the Jew in the dungeon, figure better than himself; nay, or a let us say nothing of it— what can portrait of an alderman's lady and we say to describe it? What a fine family of children. But look down homely poet is the man who can pro- the list of the painters and tell us duce this little world of mirth or woe who are they? How many among for us! Does he elaborate his effects these men are poe (makers), posby slow process of thought, or do they sessing the faculty to create, the come to him by instinct ? Does the greatest among the gifts with which painter ever arrange in his brain an Providence has endowed the mind of image so complete, that he after-man? Say how many there are, wards can copy it exactly on the count up what they have done, and canvas, or does the hand work in see what in the course of some nine spite of him?
and twenty years has been done by A great deal of this random work this indefatigable man. of course every artist has done in his What amazing energetic fecundity time; many men produce effects of do we find in him! As a boy he bewhich they never dreamed, and strike gan to fight for bread, has been hun. off excellences, haphazard, which gain gry (twice a day we trust) ever since, for them reputation ; but a fine qual- and has been obliged to sell his wit ity in Mr. Čruikshank, the quality of for his bread week by week. And his his success, as we have said before, wit, sterling gold as it is, will find no is the extraordinary earnestness and such purchasers as the fashionable good faith with which he executes painter's thin pinchbeck, who can all he attempts the ludicrous, the live comfortably for six wecks, when polite, the low, the terrible. In the paid for and painting a portrait, and second of these he often, in our fancy, fancies his mind prodigiously occufails, his figures lacking elegance and pied all the while. There was an ardescending to caricature; but there ist in Paris, an artist hairdresser, is something fine in this too : it is who used to be fatigued and take good that he should fail, that he should restoratives after inventing a new have these honest naïve notions re- coiffure. By no such gentle operagarding the beau monde, the charac- tion of head-dressing has Cruikshank teristics of which a namby-pamby tea- lived : time was (we are told so in party painter could hit off far better print) when for a picture with thirty than he. He is a great deal too down- heads in it he was paid three guineas right and, manly to appreciate the - a poor week's pittance truly, and a flimsy delicacies of small society – dire week's labor. We make no you cannot expect a lion to roar doubt that the same labor would at you like any sucking dove, or frisk | present bring him twenty times the
sum; but whether it be ill paid or charge of ingratitude, the startingwell, what labor has Mr. Cruikshank's post from which we set out, perhaps been ! Week by week, for thirty we had better conclude. The reader years, to produce something new; will perhaps wonder at the highsome smiling offspring of painful la- flown tone in which we speak of bor, quite independent and distinct the services and merits of an indifrom its ten thousand jovial brethren; vidual, whom he considers a humin what hours of sorrow and ill-health ble scraper on steel, that is wonderto be told by the world, “Make us fully popular already. But none of laugh or you starve – Give us fresh us remember all the benefits we owe fun; we have eaten up the old, and him; they have come one by one, are hungry.” And all this has he one driving out the memory of the been obliged to do – to wring laugh- other; it is only when we come to ter day by day, sometimes, perhaps, examine them all together, as the out of want, often certainly from ill- writer has done, who has a pile of health or depression — to keep the books on the table before him fire of his brain perpetually alight : heap of personal kindnesses from for the greedy public will give it no George Cruikshank (not presents, if leisure to cool. This he has done, you please, for we bought, borrowed, and done well. He has told a thou- or stole every one of them) — that we sand truths in as many strange and feel what we owe him. Look at one of fascinating ways; he has given a thou- Mr. Cruikshank's works, and we prosand new and pleasant thoughts to nounce him an excellent humorist. millions of people ; he has never used Look at all : his reputation is increased his wit dishonestly; he has never, in by a kind of geometrical progression ; all the exuberance of his frolicsome hu- as a whole diamond is a hundred times mor, caused a single painful or guilty more valuable than the hundred blush: how little do we think of the splinters into which it might be broextraordinary power of this man, and ken would be. A fine rough English how ungrateful we are to him! diamond is this about which we have
Here, as we are come round to the been writing.
JOHN LEECH'S PICTURES OF LIFE AND
WE, who can recall the consulship and long pointing quivering fingers ; of Plancus, and quite respectable, old- there was little Prince Arthur (Northfogyfied times, remember, amongst cote) crying, in white satin, and bidother amusements which we had ding good Hubert not put out his as children, the pictures at which eyes; there was Hubert crying ; we were permitted to look. There there was little Rutland being run was Boydell's Shakspeare, black and throngh the poor little body by ghastly gallery of murky Opies, glum bloody Clifford; there was Cardinal Northcotes, straddling Fuselis! there Beaufort (Reynolds) gnashing his were Lear, Oberon, Hamlet, with teeth, and grinning and howling destarting muscles, rolling eyeballs, I moniacally on his deathbed (a picture
* Reprinted from "The Quarterly Review,” No. 191, Dec. 1854, by permission of Mr. John Murray.
frightful to the present day); there Our story-books had no pictures in was Lady Hamilton (Romney) wav- them for the most part. Frank (dear ing a torch, and dancing before a old Frank !) had none; nor “ The Parblack background, - a melancholy ent's assistant;” nor“ The Evenings museum indeed. Smirke's delightful at Home;” nor our copy of the “Seven Ages ” only fitfully relieved “Ami des Enfans : there were a few its general gloom. We did not like just at the end of the Spelling-Book, to inspect it unless the elders were beside the allegory at the beginning, present, and plenty of lights and com- of Education leading up Youth to the pany were in the room.
temple of Industry, where Dr. DilCheerful relatives used to treat us worth and Professor Walkinghame to Miss Linwood's. Let the children stood with crowns of laurel. There of the present generation thank their were, we say, just a few pictures, at the stars that tragedy is put out of their end of the Spelling-Book, little oval way. Miss Linwood's was worsted- gray woodcuts of Bewick's, mostly work. Your grandmother or grand- of the Wolf and the Lamb, the Dog aunts took you there, and said the and the Shadow, and Brown, Jones, pictures were admirable. You saw and Robinson with long ringlets and # The Woodman” in worsted, with little tights; but for pictures, so to his axe and dog, trampling through speak, what had we?
The rough the snow; the snow bitter cold to old wood - blocks in the old harlelook at, the woodman's pipe wonder- quin-backed fairy-books had served ful ; a gloomy piece, that made you hundreds of years; before our Planshudder. There were large dingy cus, in the time of Priscus Plancus – pictures of woollen martyrs, and in Queen Anne's time, who knows? scowling warriors with limbs strongly We were flogged at school ; we were knitted; there was especially, at the fifty boys in our boarding-house, and end of a black passage, a den of lions, had to wash in a leaden trough, under that would frighten any boy not born a cistern, with lumps of fat yellow in Africa, or Exeter 'Change, and ac- soap floating about in the ice and customed to them.
Are our sons ever flogged ? Another exhibition used to be Have they not dressing-rooms, hairWest's Gallery, where the pleasing oil, hip-baths, and Baden towels? figures of Lazarus in his grave-clothes, And what picture books the young and Death on the pale horse, used to villains have? What have these impress us children. The tombs of children done that they should be so Westminster Abbey, the vaults at St. much happier than we were ? Paul's, the men in armor at the Tow We had “The Arabian Nights” er, frowning ferociously out of their and Walter Scott, to be sure. helmets, and wielding their dreadful Smirke's illustrations to the former swords; that superhuman Queen are very fine. We did not know how Elizabeth at the end of the room, a good they were then ; but we doubt livid sovereign with glass eyes, à ruff, whether we did not prefer the little old and a dirty satin petticoat, riding a “Miniature Library Nights” with horse covered with steel : who does frontispieces by Uwins; for_these not remember these sights in London books the pictures don't count. Every in the consulship of Plancus ? and boy of imagination does his own picthe wax-work in Fleet Street, not tures to Scott and “ The Arabian like that of Madame Tussaud's, Nights” best. whose chamber of death is gay and Of funny pictures there were none brilliant; but a nice old gloomy wax- especially intended for us children. work, full of murderers; and as a There was Rowlandson's “ Doctor chief attraction, the Dead Baby and Syntax :" Doctor Syntax, in a fuzzthe Princess Charlotte lying in state ? I wig, on a horse with legs like sausages,