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George Cruikshank’s Festive Season

December 16, 2014
by the gentle author

As we brace ourselves for the forthcoming festive season, let us contemplate George Cruikshank‘s illustrations of yuletide in London 1838-53 from his Comic Almanack which remind us how much has changed and also how little has changed. (You can click on any of these images to enlarge)

A swallow at Christmas

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas dining

Christmas bustle

Boxing day

Hard frost

A picture in the gallery

Theatrical dinner

The Parlour & the Cellar

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s birth

Twelfth Night – Drawing characters

January – Last year’s bills

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11 Responses leave one →
  1. December 16, 2014

    How very jolly.
    I love people’s clothes getting tied to things for a prank.
    And all that dancing!
    And all the jokes in Boxing Day.

    How did you get hold of Cruikshank cartoons back then?
    Did you buy them on a sheet in the street?
    Or a booksellers?
    Or were they in newspapers?

  2. December 16, 2014

    In this spirit: The same procedure as every year and a merry Christmas Time to all!

    Love & Peace

  3. Gary Arber permalink
    December 16, 2014

    Christmas in the good old days – No TV, commercialism, phones or computerised toys.
    I wonder why the man on the first print had a tortoise in the line of food entering his mouth.

  4. the gentle author permalink*
    December 16, 2014

    Maybe it’s a turtle?

  5. Bronchitikat permalink
    December 16, 2014

    Plus ça change!

  6. Roger Carr permalink
    December 16, 2014

    Serendipity. At the weekend I bought a collection of Haydn piano sonata’s that had Cruikshank street scenes on each cover . . . that’s what got my attention. Now today more of a very good thing at Spitalfields Life. Maybe there is a good Cruikshank biography I need to buy myself for Christmas? He must have been a very jolly man.

  7. Peter Holford permalink
    December 16, 2014

    Great stuff. All the usual characters are there – embarrassing uncles, etc. Beautifully observed.

  8. Annie permalink
    December 16, 2014

    Huzzah! Always pleased to see a Cruikshank illustration and it reminds me to get out Pickwick Papers again and read about Christmas in Dingley Dell. Off now to get a whole codfish and a barrel of oysters, to say nothing of a prodigious leg of pork into the back of the coach and four…

  9. Victoria permalink
    December 17, 2014

    Just love these illustrations – such detail!

  10. GJM permalink
    December 17, 2014

    Well, I do not really approve of such goings on, but it looks like they are all having a jolly good time, so I wish them well !

  11. December 17, 2014

    I seem to recall reading that Cruikshank himself was a bit of a rake… often down to his last penny and willing to trade a drawing for an advance from his publisher. But he certainly was a master of the crowd scene. And his depections out of Dickens are the ones I like the best since they seem so authentic.

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