Melton prior Institut

Linton

Linton- Life in the Collections

William Hone & George Cruikshank

4) Facetiae and Miscellanies

London 1827

This volume comprises all the pictorial pamphlets resulting from the collaboration of radical journalist William Hone and young caricaturist George Cruikshank. They were extremely popular in the early 1820s. One of Linton’s earliest recollections is related to them in connection with the Queen Caroline Case.

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After the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 – referred to in Hone & Cruikshank’s most famous satire The Political House that Jack Built – this scandal about the marriage of the Prince Regent, that had stirred up a year later, was the central event uniting all republican forces against the loyalist establishment and substantially questioning monarchy.  “I recollect (...) seeing daily the processions of the city companies (the old-time guilds) passing through the streets with banners and bands of music on their way westward to Hammersmith to present their loyal addresses to Queen Caroline, who, denied her place at court, was there living. For her, if only out of censorious disrespect for the royal husband who rejected her, public sympathy was very strongly evoked. (...) The queen’s cause was also taken advantage of as an anti-governmental policy, calling forth William Hone’s political pasquinades, in illustration of which the genius of George Cruikshank first made its appearance. Shelley’s Œdipus Tyrannus (Swellfoot the Tyrant, alias Gouty George IV.) had its impulse in the same conflict. My father was what was then called ‘a Queen’s Man,’ and of course took in Hone’s pamphlets, – The House that Jack built, The Man in the Moon, The Political Showman, The Queen’s Matrimonial Ladder, and several others. Some of them, relics of old days, are before me now; fierce but clever, the cuts by Cruikshank not unworthy of his after fame. I can not charge my memory with any observation of them in that childish period of my life; but I must have seen them whether then interested or not.” (Memories)  

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Linton’s recollections bear witness to the underlying influence of the Regency radicalism on the generation of ‘48, which became the founding generation of the topical illustrated press. Beside Linton, the likes of Charles Dickens, Henry Mayhew, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were characteristic representatives.

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