Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Oil painting - Cinderella


  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    1854 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cruikshank, born 1792 - died 1878 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage


1854 (painted)


Cruikshank, born 1792 - died 1878 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on panel

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 43.2 cm estimate, Width: 53.3 cm estimate

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868

Descriptive line

Oil on panel, 'Cinderella', George Cruikshank, 1854

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 55
The following is the full text of the entry:
"CRUIKSHANK, George (1792-1878)

Born London 27 September 1792, son of the caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank, with whom he trained as a graphic artist perhaps as early as 1799. After James Gillray’s death 1815, he became the leading political caricaturist of the day. In the 1820s he turned to book illustration, receiving many commissions to provide plates for novels; the success of Dickens's Sketches by Box (1830) was largely due to Cruikshank's designs. In the 1840s his success and reputation declined, especially with the advent of Punch (1841). Many of his later works are concerned with the cause of temperance, and he enjoyed considerable success with his series of prints 'The Bottle' (1847). A prolific maker of prints during a long working life (there is an extensive collection in the V&A), the number of works in oil is small; he exhibited eight at the RA between 1830 and 1867 and 15 at the BI 1833-60, the subjects principally literary and genre. Died London 1 February 1878; a good deal of his studio collection was presented to the V &A by his second wife Eliza.

LIT: G Reid A Descriptive Catalogue of the Works of George Cruikshank 3 vols, 1871; W Bates George Cruikshank 1878; B Jerrold The Life of George Cruikshank new ed 1898; A Cohn George Cruikshank: a Catalogue Raisonné 1924; The Inimitable George Cruikshank University of Louisville Libraries, Kentucky, USA, exhibition catalogue 1968; W Feaver George Cruikshank V&A exhibition catalogue 1974; H and M Evans The Man Who Drew the Drunkard's Daughter ... 1978; M Wynn George Cruikshank: His Life and London1978; G Buchanan-Brown The Book Illustrations of George Cruikshank Newton Abbot 1980

1405-1869 Neg 64360
Panel, 43.2 x 53.3 cm (17 x 21 ins)
Signed and dated 'George/Cruikshank/1854' on mousetrap bl
Townshend Bequest 1869

Exhibited at the RA in 1854. Cruikshank's Fairy Library was to be published in monthly parts in 1853; in the event, four stories appeared: 'Hop O'my Thumb' in 1853, 'Jack and the Bean Stalk' and 'Cinderella and the Glass Slipper' in 1854, and 'Puss in Boots' in 1864. The stories were rewritten and illustrated by the artist, as Jerrold states, 'with all the naughty things omitted, and a strong dash of teetotalism added'. The first volume was attacked by Charles Dickens in his magazine Household Words (October 1853); he believed Cruikshank - 'our dear moralist' - had 'in a rash moment' appropriated the stories 'as a means of propagating the doctrines of Total Abstinence, Prohibition of the Sale of Spirituous Liquors, Free Trade and Popular Education'. 'Cinderella' was illustrated with ten subjects in six etched plates.

Cruikshank was aware of his shortcomings as a painter in oils; in April 1853 he briefly enrolled - at the age of 61 - as a student in the RA antique class. A letter to George Putford in April 1854 (Huntington Library, San Marino, California, quoted by Jones (pp104-5) refers to the painting of 'Cinderella':

I have just finished a picture which I am just going to take to the Royal Academy. It is more like a picture than anything I have ever done - and everyone who has seen it pronounces it to be my best. You would be surprised at my improvement in oil, as indeed I am myself. I have got several commissions for pictures and so I shall dash on.

The Art Journal critic wrote of the painting that 'He develops as he approaches seriousness - his real powers lie in severe narrative ... It is certainly, in every point, the very best production of the painter'. The Illustrated London News, which reproduced 'Cinderella' in an engraving, commented at some length:

Not content with achieving great excellence as a designer, and an etcher or engraver of his own works, Mr Cruikshank, in his new lease of life, is determined to excel in painting in oils. He properly considers that a design which is good as an etching or engraving, will look as well upon canvas as upon paper. There is great truth in this position. But he is apt to forget that crude or ill-placed colours too often injure the effect of a design; that there are good pictures which will never engrave - and good engravings that will not engrave to any additional advantage.
The admirers of Mr Cruikshank - and he has many, and none warmer than ourselves - have been pleased to see of late that he has chosen to dwell in fairy land - that he prefers Queen Mab and Cinderella, to Bond-Street dandies and the follies of the day. It would be difficult indeed to find a fitter artist to introduce to the Fairy Queen.

Cruikshank exhibited another 'Cinderella' at the RA in 1859 (842), which seems to have been a watercolour (present whereabouts unknown).

EXH: RA 1854 (9); George Cruikshank Arts Council 1974 (378)

LIT: Art Journal 1854, p158; Illustrated London News 29 July 1854, p85 (repr p84); Jerrold, II, p259; M W Jones George Cruikshank: His Life and London 1978, pp103-5"

Exhibition History

Magic Worlds (New Walk Museum, Leicester 04/05/2013-29/09/2013)
Magic Worlds (Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery 26/01/2013-14/04/2013)
Magic Worlds (Museums Sheffield, Weston Park 28/04/2012-06/01/2013)
Magic Worlds (V&A Museum of Childhood 08/10/2011-04/03/2012)


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting

Subjects depicted



Paintings; Interiors

Collection code


Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.