Wednesday, February 5, 2020

George Cruikshank illustrations
from a book of Cornish folklore

George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was a British illustrator who was perhaps best known for his political cartoons and his illustrations to accompany the works of Charles Dickens and Grimms' Fairy Tales.

Cruikshank also illustrated Robert Hunt's Popular Romances of the West of England, or The Drolls, Traditions & Superstitions of Old Cornwall, which was first published in 1865 and went through many editions over the ensuing decades. I have a copy of the 1923 edition published by Chatto & Windus of London, and it feature's Cruikshank's work.

Here are two of his illustrations. The second one serves as the book's frontispiece.

"A Flight of Witches"

"The Giant Bolster striding from the Beacon to Carn Brea — A distance of six miles." (Eat your heart out, Slenderman.)

There's an annual Bolster Festival near St Agnes, Cornwall. According to, Bolster was a bully of a giant and a poor husband. He also had a wandering eye, and he fell in love with St Agnes, much to her annoyance. She tried to hire some knights to vanquish him, but those men were not worthy. So she had to handle the job herself, deploying her intelligence to trick Bolster and send him to his doom. Yay, St Agnes!

Here's a link to a fun photo from the Bolster Festival's website. They look like they'd be right at home with the gang from The Wicker Man or Midsommar. There's already a schedule for this year's pageant, the main event of which is May 9.