Friday, June 13, 2014

Print of the Day: Cruikshank's "Punch and the Cat," 19th C.

Engraving depicting "Punch and the Cat"
George Cruikshank
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Some of the earliest, most accurate and famous drawings we have of the Nineteenth Century Punch & Judy shows in Britain are those created by the celebrated illustrator George Cruikshank (1792-1878).

Here, we see an engraving after one of Cruikshank’s renowned drawings.  The print crisply depicts not only the Punch & Judy performance, but also, the audience.  Here, we see Punch and the Cat in a booth in the upper center. Some Punch & Judy Professors in the Nineteenth Century used a cat in lieu of the Dog Toby.  At the time, many Punch & Judy men still employed real animals as Punch’s companion as opposed to puppet counterparts.  If a dog was unavailable, Mr. Punch was joined by a cat. 

This trimmed piece of paper has, on the reverse, part of a music score entitled “The Magistrate.” “Old G. Cruickshank” is inscribed in pencil on the upper left center.

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