Friday, June 21, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: One of Cruikshank's Punch Drawings, 1828

Mr Punch with Jim Crow and the Blind Man
George Cruikshank, 1828
Engraving, 1859
Lacy & Larker, Ltd.
The George Speaight Archive
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The great George Cruikshank (1792-1859) created some of the most enduring images of Mr. Punch. In fact, Cruikshank’s illustrations of the traditional puppet show remain the benchmark for the look of Punch and his puppet friends.

Here, we see some illustration proofs (nos. 1437-1438) for the fourth edition of “Punch & Judy” which was first published by the firm of Lacy and Parker. This work contained the famed play “The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Punch and Judy” which was famously illustrated by George Cruikshank in 1828.

The two etchings are printed in black ink on India paper and both depict scenes from the traditional “Punch & Judy” show as performed in a puppet theatre or “fit-up.”

The top etching shows Jim Crow--Punch's servant—who has been defeated, killed and thrown off the stage by Punch. The etching below this shows Mr. Punch taking the Blind Man's staff prior to knocking him off the stage too.

This Mr. Punch hasn’t been civilized yet. But, that what makes him so lovable. 

These particular etchings, being from the fourth edition of “The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy,” were produced in 1859 based on Cruikshank’s 1828 illustrations. 

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