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Oliver at Mrs Maylie's door, from The Adventures of Oliver Twist ... With twenty-four illustrations by Cruikshank, 1911 (colour litho)
When the publisher Richard Bentley hired Charles Dickens to edit a new monthly magazine, Bentley’s Miscellany, he also invited the artist and illustrator George Cruikshank to provide the illustrations. The arrangement proved to be a fortuitous one. In addition to editing the magazine Dickens also began writing a story, Oliver Twist, for serialisation within its pages. From February 1837, the second issue of the magazine, Oliver Twist began to appear with each episode accompanied by one black and white plate provided by Cruikshank. Oliver Twist includes some of the most iconic scenes Dickens ever produced, and these scenes have become inextricably entwined with Cruikshank’s illustrations. ‘Oliver Asking for More’ and ‘Fagin in the Condemned Cell’, for example, are said to be among the finest work Cruikshank ever produced – indeed critics have suggested the illustrations define the episodes they portray every bit as much as Dickens’s own words.
The edition shown here dates from 1911 and includes Cruikshank’s excellent illustrations, but this time reproduced in full colour.