About this Book
Isaac Cruikshank and the Politics of Parody is a catalogue raisonne of Cruikshank's watercolors in the Huntington, the largest group of works by the artist in this medium. All 117 images, called "drolls" because of their comic themes and characters, are illustrated, along with the artist's notes and sketches on the verso of the originals. Cruikshank was a contemporary of Rowlandson and Gillray, and the father of George Cruikshank, the well-known illustrator of Dickens.
Cruikshank catches most of his subjects when they would least like to be observed. Whether the setting is public or domestic, disaster has struck, or is impending: a boat on its way to Vauxhall gardens capsizes near Westminster Bridge; a stampede of pigs en route to Smithfield Market overwhelms strolling shoppers; an inexperienced chef begins to prepare dinner by hurling onions at a live rabbit. The descriptions accompanying each image suggest the social and political background of these amusing depictions of life in eighteenth-century London. Satirical poems that accompanied published versions of the drawings, many of them theatrical afterpieces associated with well-known actors, are quoted in full. An introduction by Edward J. Nygren, former director of the Huntington Art Collections, explores the relationship of Cruikshank's satirical art to the contemporary theater.
About the Author
Edward Nygren is the former Director of the Huntington Art Collections.