Subscribe to the Rosenblog!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Bottle

In honor of the 96th anniversary of Prohibition, which was ratified on January 16, 1919, I thought I'd highlight George Cruikshank's two famous series of temperance prints: The Bottle (1847) and the Drunkard's Children (1848). British illustrator Cruikshank started out at the turn of the 19th century doing satirical prints, then moved into book illustration (including Oliver Twist) but in the 1840s he started producing more work for the temperance movement. Cruikshank's father had been alcoholic and according to Cruikshank had died of alcohol poisoning after a drinking match; Cruikshank himself had been a drinker until he took an abstinence pledge in 1847. 

Cruikshank's series, which follow the decline and fall of a family as they succumb to drink were inspired by Hogarth's famous "Rake's Progress." They also followed in a long of pictorial depictions of the evils of drunkenness, such as Hogarth's 1751 "Gin Lane", which itself had been part of a campaign to pass the Gin Act, and contemporary illustrations such as the 1846 American lithograph  "The Drunkard's Progress".

William Hogarth, Gin Lane. 1751. © Trustees of the British Museum
N. Currier. The drunkards progress. From the first glass to the grave. c1846. Library of Congress.

So without further ado, The Bottle and The Drunkard's Children.

The Bottle, Plate I: The Bottle Is Brought Out for the First Time: The Husband Induces His Wife "Just to Take a Drop"
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2621)

The Bottle, Plate II: He is Discharged from His Employment for Drunkenness, They Pawn Their Clothes to Supply the Bottle
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2624)

The Bottle, Plate III: An Execution Sweeps Off the Greater Part of Their Furniture, They Comfort Themselves with the Bottle
 (Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2627)

The Bottle, Plate IV. Unable to Obtain Employment, They Are Driven by Poverty into the Streets to Beg, and by This Means They Still Supply the Bottle.
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2630)
 
The Bottle, Plate V. Cold, Misery, and Want, Destroy Their Youngest Child: They Console Themselves with the Bottle.
 (Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2633)

The Bottle, Plate VI: Fearful Quarrels and Brutal Violence are the Natural Consequences of the Frequent Use of the Bottle
 (Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2636)

The Bottle, Plate VII: The Husband, in a State of Furious Drunkenness, Kills His Wife with the instrument of All Their Misery
 (Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2638a)

The Bottle, Plate VIII: The Bottle Has Done Its Work - It Has Destroyed the Infant and the Mother, It Has Brought the Son and the Daughter to Vice and to the Streets, and Has Left the Father a Hopeless Maniac
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2638b)

The Drunkard's Children, Plate I: Neglected by their Parents, Educated in the Streets and Falling Into the Hands of Wretches Who Live Upon the Vice of Others, They Are Led to the Gin Shop
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2644)

The Drunkard's Children, Plate II: Between the Fine Flaring Gin Palace and the Low Dirty Beer-Shop, The Boy-Thief Squanders and Gambles Away his Ill-gotten Gain
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2647)

The Drunkard's Children, Plate III: From the Gin Shop to the Dancing Rooms, From the Dancing Rooms to the Gin Shop, the Poor Girl is Driven on in that Course Which Ends in Misery
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2650)

The Drunkard's Children, Plate IV: Urged on by his Ruffian Companions, and Excited by Drink, He Commits a Desperate Robbery--He is Taken by the Police at a Threepenny Lodging House
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2650)

 The Drunkard's Children, Plate V: From the Bar of the Gin-Shop to the Bar of the Old Bailey it is But One Step
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2656)

The Drunkard's Children, Plate VI:The Drunkard's Son is Sentenced to Transportation for Life
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2659)

 The Drunkard's Children, Plate VII: The Poor Girl Homeless, Friendless, Deserted, Destitute, and Gin-Mad Commits Self-Murder
(Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia 1954.1880.2665)


The Bottle was very popular when it was first printed; it sold over 100,000 copies, was adapted for the stage, and its images adorned all kinds of consumer goods, such as these plates (to see more, visit http://www.unitedcollections.net/temperance.html) .



Anyone for a nice cold glass of water?

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog.

No comments: