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George Cruikshank, Inconveniences of a Crowded Room, an etching

 

Height: 249.000 mm
Width: 346.000 mm

PD 1859-3-16-138

Prints and Drawings

    George Cruikshank, Inconveniences of a Crowded Room, an etching

    England, AD 1818

    A scene which satirizes English royal society

    In this coloured etching Cruikshank (1792-1878) makes fun of the English Court. The scene is set in Buckingham House (now Palace) during one of the last formal receptions given by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III (reigned 1760-1820), for members of the aristocracy and the officers in the military. It is dated 6 May 1818, shortly before the Queen's death.

    A contemporary described the scene: There was 'an immense crowd … much confusion. Everyone wished to get first into the presence of royalty, much rushing and squeezing took place, loud shrieks were heard and several ladies fainted'. The men are shown in gold-laced court dress or dress uniforms. When they meet the ladies in their wide-hipped dresses delightful chaos results. The climax is in the centre of the doorway. The entire mass of the bulky woman is focused on the point of her left foot. She lands forcibly on the foot of the gouty and equally large man. A crowd around them enjoys their painful discomfort. The cream of fashionable Society has become a scrum of bitching grotesques.

    Cruikshank succeeded Gillray as Britain's most important satirist and caricaturist. The morals of Society, the private life of the notorious Prince Regent (son of George III and Queen Charlotte) and many other aspects of contemporary Britain were all exposed and attacked in Cruikshank's merciless scenes.

    R.L. Patten, George Cruikshanks life, times (Cambridge, Lutterworth Press, 1992)

    M. Wynn Jones, George Cruikshank: his life an (London, Macmillan, 1978)

    J. Wardroper, The caricatures of George Crui (Gordon Fraser, 1977)

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    Paper mosaics and 18th century British society, £12.99

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