George Cruikshank. The Genius of George Cruikshank. 2 vols.
London, 1840 and 1843. Large quarto. Each volume has the same spine title and half title, but one has title: An Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank by William Makepeace Thackeray and the other An Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank by John Wilson. These two essays provide octavo title pages and text that precede many leaves of text and prints that are inlaid into large quarto leaves. Volumes contain 234 leaves and 211 leaves respectively. Half leather binding with some water induced distressing to the boards. Gold stamping on spines and boards. A lovely and interesting set.
These unique, extra illustrated books provide a splendid study in word and example of George Cruikshank's art. The art pieces range from small woodcut and steel engraved book illustrations to foldout hand colored separately issued caricatures. There are seven examples of the latter, and eleven aquatints from W.H. Ireland's Life of Napoleon Bonaparte (1823) [see Tooley, 278], 12 colored plates from The Wit's Magazine, among others. A more detailed list of illustrations can be provided upon request.