'A Dandy Shoe Maker in a Fright or the effects of Tight Lacing' (1818). The cartoon pokes fun at dandies, who were often ridiculed as effeminate men who were obsessed with clothing and looking sharp. In the picture a dandy helps a woman with her shoes, but gets distraught when he notices one of his own laces is untied.

Isaac Robert Cruikshank was an early 19th-century caricaturist and cartoonist. His cartoons show early use of speech balloons, caricature and slapstick, making him a prototypical comics artist. Some of his cartoons also present early examples of sequential narratives.

Life
Isaac Robert Cruikshank was born in 1789 in Middlesex, England as son of caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank and brother of the more famous cartoonist George Cruikshank. He joined the military in 1803 and rose to the rank of sergeant. He sailed along with the East India Company as a midshopman, but while the ship sailed to the British prison colony St. Helena he was left behind there as a form of punishment. By the time he arrived back in his home country most people already assumed he passed away. After his return Cruikshank followed in his father's and brother's footsteps and started publishing cartoons as well. Several of his cartoon illustrations were sequels to books his more famous brother had published earlier. In 1827 the siblings worked together on a series of illustrations named 'London Characters'. He died in 1856 from bronchitis.

Prototypical comics
His cartoon 'Every Man on his Perch, or Going to Hobby Fair' (1819), which pokes fun on the then brand new invention of the bicycle, can be seen as an early example of sequential art. It depicts various people riding on primitive, handmade bicycles in four separate long strips. Another prototypical example of a comic strip can be found in 'The National Pop-Shop in Threadneedle Street' (1826). This cartoon is divided in two panels. The image on the left shows people putting up the sign of their store. The image on the right shows visitors swarming into the store afterwards.


Every Man on his Perch, or Going to Hobby Fair (1819)

Series and books by Isaac Robert Cruikshank in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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