Isaac Robert Cruikshank

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1818 caricature by I.R. Cruikshank
1829 caricature by Robert Cruikshank of US President Andrew Jackson's inauguration

Isaac Robert Cruikshank, sometimes known as Robert Cruikshank (27 September 1789 – 13 March 1856) was a caricaturist, illustrator, and portrait miniaturist, the less well-known brother of George Cruikshank, both sons of Isaac Cruikshank. Just like them he holds importance as a pioneer in the history of comics for creating several cartoons which make use of narrative sequence and speech balloons. [1]


He was born in 1789 in Middlesex [1], where he and his brother George attended school in Edgware. Both brothers were interested in the theatre, and performed in dramas they had written themselves with their friend Edmund Kean. Isaac joined the Loyal North Britons, a volunteer military unit, rising to the rank of sergeant when the volunteers turned out in 1803. During adolescence both brothers attended boxing and fencing matches, cock-fights, and numerous tavern contests.[2]

Cruikshank gained a midshipman's commission in the East India Company's ship Perseverance. Midshipman Cruikshank did not get on with his captain, and returning on his maiden voyage he was deliberately left behind on St Helena.[1] He arrived back in London in 1806 and shocked his family who were in mourning having been told that he was dead.[3]

In the late 1820s Cruikshank illustrated a number of notable books that were often sequels to previous successes to which he and his brother George had contributed. For example, George Cruikshank illustrated Points of Humour and Isaac Cruikshank illustrated Points of Misery. The brothers collaborated on a series of 'London Characters' in 1827. Amongst his other illustrations are some notable ones for Miguel de Cervantes' classic novel, Don Quixote de la Mancha. They are not as well known as those of William Hogarth or Gustave Doré; however, they can be viewed online at the Quijote Banco de Images.[4] Another is a satirical comment on the marriage of the elderly Grizell, sister of Samuel Hoare Jr, to William Allen; the Quaker couple co-founded Newington Academy for Girls,[5] which Cruikshank refers to as "Newington Nunnery".

Cruikshank caught bronchitis and died aged 66 at his lodgings at 13 Pleasant Row, Pentonville. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c "Isaac Robert Cruikshank".
  2. ^ Robert L. Patten, ‘Cruikshank, (Isaac) Robert (1789–1856)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  3. ^ George Cruikshank, with some account of his brother Robert Cruikshank’, MS memoir, Princeton University
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-07-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ David Mander. Look Back, Look Forward: an illustrated history of Stoke Newington. Sutton Publishing and the London Borough of Hackney, 1997, cited in Quaker history page Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine


  • Dictionary of British Cartoonists and Caricaturists 1730-1980. Compiled by Mark Bryant and Simon Heneage. Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1994.
  • Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Mary Dorothy George. Vol VI, 1938 Vol VII, 1942 VOL VIII 1947, VOL IX 1949
  • Dictionary of British Cartoonists and caricaturists 1730-1980 Bryant and Heneage, Scolar Press, 1994

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