The pseudonym "Alfred Crowquill" is something of an oddity in the world of Victorian illustration and satire, since it was used jointly by two brothers, Alfred Henry Forrester (1804-72), who specialized in witty publications such as Comic Arithmetic (London: Richard Bentley, 1844) and humorous sketches in Punch, The Illustrated London News and other illustrated periodicals prior to mid-century, and his older sibling, Charles Robert Forrester (1803-50). Both illustrators were born in London, and began as journalists before branching out into children's books, verse, burlesques, and comic sketches. By the end of 1843, Alfred Henry Forrester had apparently ceased to publish caricatures under this pseudonym, leaving it for the exclusive use of his older brother, so that his pantomime sketches with humorous verses beneath (as seen in The Illustrated London News during the Christmas season of that year) must have been among his last graphic works placed before the public under that nom de plume. On 29 May 1847, The Illustrated London News ran a lament for suffering Ireland entitled "The Tears on the Shamrock" in the manner of Irish lyricist Thomas Moore's (1779-1852) National Airs (1818-1827), the poem being attributed to Alfred Crowquill (music by Edward Loder); presumably, then, the author of the apostrophe to Erin, inspired by the potato famine and large-scale emigration that ensued, was Charles Robert Forrester.


Comic Arithmetic, attributed to Forrester, Alfred Henry. "Book Detail."

Cambridge Biographical Dictionary, ed. Magnus Magnusson and Rosemary Goring. Cambridge, New York, etc.: Cambridge U. P., 1990.

Forrester, Charles Robert. "The Tears on the Shamrock." The Illustrated London News 29 May 1847.

Sutherland, John. "Crowquill, Alfred." The Stanford Companion Victorian Fiction.Stanford, Cal.: Stanford U. P., 1989.

Last modified 31 July 2009