The Bottle


One of the eight plates created by George Cruikshank depicts a man’s descent into alcoholism. Ironically, Cruikshank himself was an alcoholic along with his brother and father. As such, Cruikshank’s advocation for abstinence stemmed from a personal experience of poverty, violence, and crime. The image is just one of the eight plates that Cruikshank created, with the others tying along to the story of a father, seemingly happy with his life and his family, descending into madness fueled with alcoholic rage towards his loved ones. The latter images depict his violence stemming from poverty and frustration at their situation, culminating with the murder of his own wife. Many argued that the low price of alcohol during this time encouraged the inevitable journey from the first sip of a drink to subsequent poverty and death. Cruikshank’s work attracted the attention of other notable authors, like Charles Dickens, who believed their world to be too demanding and cruel for total abstinence and rather argued moderation.

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Timeline of Events Associated with The Bottle


  • George Cruikshank

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