Snuffing Out Boney.
14 x 17¾ inches
A hand coloured etching by George Cruikshank published in London by Thomas Tegg in 1814.
In this famous image we focus on one of Cruikshank's favourite topics, the Napoleonic Wars and, more specifically, the ridicule of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. This image refers back to the ill-fated Russian campaign of 1812 which is seen by many to herald Napoleon's eventual downfall. A large and jubilant Cossack soldier gleefully uses a candle snuffer to 'extinguish' Napoleon's potency. George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was arguably the most highly regarded and prolific caricaturist of the nineteenth century. He was born in London in 1792, the son of the Scottish artist and caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank. Early in his career he painted the backdrops for the Drury Lane Theatre but, strongly influenced by the infamous James Gillray, he soon turned his hand to social and political satire at which he excelled. By the 1820’s Cruikshank had succeeded Gillray as London’s most popular caricaturist and was busy supplying over twenty of the city’s print sellers. He went on to illustrate numerous books throughout the Victorian period and is particularly remembered for his drawings in the novels of Charles Dickens. From 1850 onwards he devoted much of his time and energy to the temperance movement, a cause close to his heart, as it was alcoholism that had killed his father in 1811.