BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)
George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was born in September, 1792, the son of Isaac Cruikshank, a well-known illustrator and caricaturist. He was older than John Snow by 21 years, but still outlived him by two decades. Cruikshank started his career at age 19 as a political cartoonist and proceeded until his late 20s and early 30s (see below), when he broadened his horizon and gained prominence as a book illustrator. Most notable was his collaboration with Charles Dickens (1812-1870) as illustrator on a series of Dickens' books in the 1830s, 40s and 50s (see below).
Cruikshank was concerned with sanitary reform. After reading a critical report on the inadequacies of the Southwark Water Company, Cruikshank in 1832 drew a caricature of John Edwards, owner of the water establishment. Edwards is portrayed as Neptune, crowned with a chamber pot, sitting on a water intake in the center of polluted River Thames. In one hand he holds a three-headed staff on which two cats and a rat are impaled. In the other hand is a overflowing goblet of murky water. Protestors are crying out, "Give us clean water" and "We shall all have the cholera" (see below).
Later in the 1840s, Cruikshank became an enthusiastic supporter of the temperance movement, similar in views to John Snow. He drew several illustrations, focusing on the ill-effects of excess alcohol. Portraying Cruikshank's depth of feeling towards alcohol were eight plates, created in 1847, labeled simply, The Bottle (see below).
It is not clear if Cruikshank and John Snow knew one another, although likely by reputation.
George Cruikshank lived at 69-71 Amwell Street from 1824-49, before moving to 263 Hamstead Road in 1850 where he lived until his death in 1878.
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Patten RL. George Cruikshank's Life, Times and Art, Vols. 1 and 2, 1992.
Rennison, N. The Blue Plaque Guide, 1999.
Sumeray, C. Discovering London Plaques, 1999.
Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.