Ronald Searle, George Cruikshank, pen and black ink sketch, over graphite

France, AD 1977

A preparatory sketch for a series of medals commemorating caricaturists from the 16th to the 19th centuries

Ronald Searle (born in 1920) is an internationally famous cartoonist and illustrator. He is best known for his images of the anarchic St Trinian's schoolgirls (1946-51) and for his contributions to Punch, New Yorker and Le Monde among others.

Searle made this study of George Cruikshank (1792-1878) for Six Fathers of Caricature, a series of medals struck by the French Mint from 1976-77. The other artists commemorated are Carracci, Ghezzi, Hogarth, Gillray, and Rowlandson. All the related drawings are int he Department of Prints and Drawings , while the medals themselves were presented by the artist to the Department of Coins and Medals of The British Museum.

Cruikshank was a celebrated caricaturist in nineteenth-century England; succeeding Gillray as the country's leading political cartoonist. Today, however, he is best known for his illustrations to Charles Dickens's novels. The source of this sketch is a portrait by Daniel Maclise, the most frequently reproduced portrait of Cruikshank, published in Fraser's Magazine in 1833. Cruikshank disliked the portrait; he became a vigorous teetotaller and objected to Maclise's depiction of him sketching in a tavern, seated on a beer barrel with a tankard and pipe beside him. Searle's final design shows Cruikshank sitting outside on the barrel amidst a riot, the tankard removed.

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Ronald Searle, George Cruikshank, pen and black ink sketch, over graphite

© 2000 Ronald Searle


More information


W. Coates-Smith, 'Ronald Searle', Line, Department of Art and Design APU Cambridge, 1 (2000)

G. Vetter-Liebenow (ed.), Ronald Searle (Munich, 1996)

W. Feaver and A. Gould, Masters of caricature from Hog (London, 1981)

M. Bryant, and S. Heneage, Dictionary of British cartooni (Aldershot, 1994)


Height: 280.000 mm
Width: 210.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1983-6-25-84


Gift of the artist


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