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The Bachelor's Own Book; or, The Progress of Mr. Lambkin, (Gent.), In the Pursuit of Pleasure and Amusement, and also in search of Health and Happiness. In Twenty-four Plates, Designed and etched by George Cruikshank. Glasgow: David Bryce & Son, 129 Buchanan Street. 1880 title-page: 6.2 cm high by 5.1 cm wide, framed.

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Accompanying Text

The Bachelor's Own book, Being the Progress of Mr. Lambkin in the Pursuit of Pleasure and Amusement, and also in Search of Health and Happiness: Designed, etched, and published by George Cruikshank on August 1st, 1844. Sold by D. Bogue 86 Fleet Street, London, and all Booksellers.


Although Cruikshank employed his publisher, David Bogue, to market the cartoon-book of twenty-four steel etchings (on just twelve plates), The Bachelor’s Own Book; Or, The Progress Of Mr. Lambkin, In The Pursuit Of Pleasure And Amusement was published by Cruikshank himself. This octavo contained in the 1844 edition an etched title-page and the actual illustrations on stiff papers suitable for framing; it was available in a more expensive, hand-tinted version as well as with plain black-and-white etchings. Shortly after the little book's appearance in England, Carey and Hart of Philadelphia published an edition using lithographs that the firm's illustrators had developed from the original etchings.

The theme of a dandy in pursuit of pleasure as well as a wife runs throughout the work of Cruikshank's early career, as does the influence of the Hogarthian progress. The character sketch of Mr. Lambkin first occurs in a broadside caricaturing a dandy and his creditors. Titled "Put it to the Bill," it was published by R. Harrild, probably around 1815 (Cohn 1879). Mr. Lambkin runs the course of courting, drinking, gambling, quarreling with the police, falling into the hands of predators, becoming ill through dissipation, and finally, after many trials, returning to his original love and marrying her. [Vogler, p. 158]


Cruikshank, George. The Bachelor’s Own Book; Or, The Progress Of Mr. Lambkin, In The Pursuit Of Pleasure And Amusement. Glasgow: David Bryce, 1844, rpt. 1880.

Patten, Robert L. George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art, vol. 2: 1835-1878.Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press, 1992.

Vogler, Richard A. Graphic Works of George Cruikshank. Dover Pictorial Archive Series. New York: Dover, 1979.

Last modified 15 May 2018