The Old Print Shop

George Cruikshank

1792 - 1878

(born , Sept. 27, 1792, London, Eng. — died Feb. 1, 1878, London) English painter, illustrator, and caricaturist. His series of political caricatures for The Scourge (1811 – 16) established him as the leading political cartoonist of his generation, and he continued to satirize the policies of the Tories and Whigs in political cartoons until c. 1825. In the 1820s and '30s he produced book illustrations, notably for Charles Dickens's Sketches by "Boz" (1836) and Oliver Twist (1838). In later life he embraced the cause of temperance with his series The Bottle (1847) and The Drunkard's Children (1848). Cruikshank reproduced his drawings by glyphography, a quicker, cheaper way of making printing plates than carving wood blocks or etching plates with acid. Patented in 1842, the glyphographic plate was made by covering copper with a thick wax resist and drawing through the wax to expose parts of the metal. The plate was then electroplated creating a metal relief line, similar to the etched metal relief plates of William Blake but much less detailed or elegant. The relief plate can then be letterpress printed along with a caption or other text.