- Museum number
A tracing/ sketch related to Reid 613 described as 'Portrait of Belzoni as the strong man.' representing the traveller, when engaged at Sadler's Wells theatre displaying his extraordinary strength by walking about with four men on his shoulders and in his arms. This drawing, however, represents Belzoni at Bartholomew Fair, a chair behind him and a man in the costume of a Roman centurion drawing lightly in the background.
Graphite with signature and annotations in ink.
- Production date
Height: 187 millimetres (approx height)
Width: 126 millimetres (approx. width)
- Curator's comments
- Date and description based on GW Reid 'A descriptive catalogue of the works of George Cruikshank.' 1871.
This is one of a large number of drawings by George Cruikshank on thin "tracing paper" acquired as part of the bequest of the artist’s widow Eliza Cruikshank to the British Museum referred to as tracings.
Cruikshank’s tracings appear to have been integral to the development of his prints.
They have been placed alongside the related unmounted proof prints in the British Museum's collection to show how Cruikshank developed his designs; apparently building up a composition from loose initial sketch to a detailed drawing to be transferred to the etching plate (See for example the development of the composition for 'The Gin Juggernauth', Reid 1682.)
The tracings often show careful reworking of gesture and facial expression and include sketched or written marginalia.
Several tracings have been treated to be transferred to another surface which may have been the next level of tracing paper for a further stage in composition drawing or the etching plate. Cruikshank also produced tracings related to his paintings.
Eliza Cruikshank's bequest also includes tracings mounted on fine card . Several of these have been coloured by hand perhaps to indicate a colour scheme to the printer.
George Cruikshank often annotated and signed the tracings, perhaps to support GW Reid's contemporary catalogue of his work (published in 1871) or as a method of protecting the copyright for his designs.
Due to the large numbers of these tracings, they have been catalogued in groups which roughly correspond with the related publication.
Measurements are approximate due to the grouping of multiple images and irregular sizes of the sheets. However, the tracings are often similar in size to the related illustrations.
The British Museum also acquired large numbers of unmounted sketches (see 1974,U.1-14 for commentary) and sketchbooks from the Cruikshank bequest which reflect other aspects of George Cruikshank’s drawing practice. (See British drawings series).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1891,1116.179