‘Ugly Customers.’ 1835. Etched vignettes, detail of page, 7½ x 11 inches, plate 27. This is a typical example of Cruikshank’s use of comic episodes, arranged several to a page, which punningly play on a central idea or theme. The conceit here is the notion of ugliness, both literal and metaphorical, and extends from an unappealing sitter for a portrait to a spook and a difficult military type demanding satisfaction. As usual, Cruikshank packs each vignette with visual information, in each case demonstrating his capacity to shift between situational comedy to the comic grotesque and the nightmarish excesses of the imagination. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Photograph and text by Simon Cooke. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.


Cruikshank, George. Volume 1 of My Sketch Book. London: Tilt, 1835.

Created 1 September 2021