London: Effingham Wilson, 1880. Robert Cruikshank. Yellowback Reprint. Pictorial wrappers. 16mo, yellow wrappers with pictorial engraving of paddle wheel steamers, illustrated with 7 full-page woodcuts with tissue guards and several small "devilish" vignettes, 34 pages +  blank + 18pp. Ads for Publications by Effingham Wilson. Very Good / None. Item #1685
A charming bit of humorous satire with several equally delightful illustrations by ROBERT CRUIKSHANK (1789-1856) in a RARE surviving yellowback reprinting a popular piece from Matthews' Comic Annual of 1831.
The poem underlying this comic take-off first appeared as "The Devil's Thoughts" in 1799. It is generally believed to have been composed by Robert Southey with subsequent additions by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The subject became a source of other take-offs such as one entitled "The Devil's Walk on Earth," and Lord Byron's "The Devil's Drive" of 1812. Southey made substantial revisions to the poem in 1827, and Coleridge published it as part of his own Collected Works in 1829. Thereafter, a letter appeared in the February, 14, 1830 edition of the Morning Post with the claim by one R. C. Porson that the poem, "The Devil's Walk," had been actually written by his deceased uncle "Professor Porson," who is alluded to in the title of our jeux d'esprit as NOT the author of the REAL Devil's Walk.
Isaac ROBERT Cruikshank was the talented brother of caricaturist, illustrator, and etcher, George Cruikshank, with whom he often collaborated early in their artistic lives. Evidently, Robert was quite mischievous as a lad, for after he briefly tried out as a midshipman, his captain left him stranded on St. Helena! Evidently, the captain liked to have a LONG last laugh!
After finding his way the very long way back to England, Robert engaged in many cartooning projects--often assisting or following-up on series begun by his more talented and prolific brother George, a prominent early illustrator of Charles Dickens, who grew to detest the great novelist.
Rather Bohemian Robert subsisted on small procedes from etching to etching but died at 66 from bronchitis (or TB). George Cruikshank memorialized his brother as “a very clever miniature and portrait painter, and also a designer and etcher.”
Robert’s close friend, George Daniel, stated that “he was apt to conceive and prompt to execute; he had a quick eye and a ready hand; with all his extravagant drollery, his drawing is anatomically correct; his details are minute, expressive, and of careful finish, and his colouring is bright and delicate.”
Extremely clean, tight, and bright copy of this RARE yellowback with clean, remarkably preserved illustrations.