Plate V

From the Bar of the Gin Shop to the Bar of the Old Bailey it is but One Step, 1848


Gift of Mrs. Thirza J. Clevelandexpand_more  P.94.14.5

Not on Viewexpand_more

In 1847, satirist George Cruikshank issued a series of low-cost prints, entitled The Bottle, which encouraged Britons – particularly the working poor – to renounce alcohol. The Bottle depicted a fictional family ravaged by alcoholism: the father is committed to an asylum, an infant dies, and the mother is murdered.

The following year, Cruikshank issued an eight-part sequel, The Drunkard’s Children, from which this print derives. The series charted the courses of the family’s orphaned son and daughter. Among their misadventures are drinking, gambling, theft, and a visit to the courthouse where the brother is sentenced to life imprisonment in Australia, then a penal colony.

A former heavy drinker, Cruikshank joined the temperance movement around the time he produced The Drunkard's Children; in 1856 he became vice president of the National Temperance League. While Cruikshank saw alcohol as a cause of crime and misery, many of his contemporaries regarded its abuse as a symptom of poverty.

From the Bar of the Gin Shop to the Bar of the Old Bailey it is but One Step
Artist Life
1792 - 1878
Accession Number
Thirza Cleveland, Minneapolis; given to MIA, 1994.
Catalogue Raisonne
Curator Approved

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Plate V