W. H. Chesson takes issue with Julian Moore's assessment of the fourteen Cruikshank illustrations in Windsor Castle as representing "the minimum of charm and freshness [for those qualities one would have turn to the illustrations for Sketches by 'Boz'], and the maximum achievement in technique" (89). He considers the 1842-43 steel-engravings "admirable," and ventures to assert that he discerns "an influence of Johannot upon Cruikshank's design (spirited but not insufferably vigorous) entitled The Quarrel between Will Summers and Patch" (89), namely the quality of "artistic restraint." The other illustration that Chesson singles out for grudging praise is that of Herne the Hunter, whom he pronounces "as impressive a person can be who jeopardizes the dignity of demonhood by wearing horns" (90).

The novel was embellished not only by Johannot's rather vaguely delineated plates but also by W. Alfred Delamotte's numerous designs and plans of the castle beautifully cut into the block by Thomas Williams. 'both artists frankly copied the effects Cruikshank had achieved in illuminating​ The Tower.

After the first five steels, however, Johannot quit, and Cruikshank, his Miser​drawings done, took over. He was not asked to design the wood-engravings; that slight made him touchy. . . . .

Influenced by Delamotte's minute pictorializations of nature, Cruikshank expended great effort on the Windsor Castle plates, delineating the settings with more explicit detail​ than usual. The result, unfortunately, is not always commensurate with the ambition: he highly patterned surfaces blunt dramatic intensity. The best effects are achieved in those illustrations featuring the demonic Herne the Hunter. [Patten, vol. 2, p. 173]

The focus of the main story is the royal divorce. The novel begins with the arrival of Anne Boleyn at Windsor (illustrated by Johannot), and ends with her fall from power, as Henry replaces her with Jane Seymour. However, Cruikshank obviously found the interventions of Herne the Hunter fascinating — although a secondary character, as the basis for the "romance" aspects of the novel, he appears in eight of Cruikshank's ​ fourteen steel-engravings, including the last with Henry Both of these characters are a continuing thread in Cruikshank's illustrations. Although the novel also involves the love story of the Earl of Suffolk and the Fair Geraldine, these two are featured prominently just once. On the other hand, the other attractive young woman, of whom Sir Thomas Wyat, Morgan Fenwolf, Herne the Hunter, and Henry VIII are enamoured — Mabel Lyndwood, appears in four of the Cruikshank illustrations.


Ainsworth, William Harrison. Windsor Castle. An Historical Romance. Illustrated by George Cruikshank and Tony Johannot. With designs on wood by W. Alfred Delamotte. London: Routledge, 1880. Based on the Henry Colburn edition of 1844.

Burton, Anthony. "Cruikshank as an Illustrator of Fiction." George Cruikshank: A Revaluation. Ed. Robert L. Patten. Princeton: Princeton U. P., 1974, rev., 1992. Pp. 92-128.

Carver, Stephen. Ainsworth and Friends: Essays on 19th Century Literature & The Gothic. Accessed 1 October 2017. https://ainsworthandfriends.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/william-harrison-ainsworth-the-life-and-adventures-of-the-lancashire-novelist/

Chesson, Wilfred Hugh. George Cruikshank. The Popular Library of Art. London: Duckworth, 1908.

Jerrold, Blanchard. The Life of George Cruikshank. In Two Epochs. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. 2 vols. London: Chatto and Windus, 1882.

Worth, George J. William Harrison Ainsworth. New York: Twayne, 1972.

Vann, J. Don. "Windsor Castle in Ainsworth's Magazine, June 1842-June 1843." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: MLA, 1985. P. 23.

Last modified 31 January 2018