The British Workman, 1855-1864, illustrated by George Cruikshank and others
Thomas Bywater Smithies (editor) & George Cruikshank et al. (illustrator). The British Workman. London, S.W. Partridge, [1865?]. 41.5 x 32.5 cm. , 480, , [1 blank pp. (general title-page, 4-page index and issues 1-120, 1855-1864, continuously paginated). Abundantly illustrated with wood-engraved illustrations in the text. Original publisher's green cloth, gold- and blind-tooled, gilt title on spine and both boards ("British Workman 1855-64"), all edges gilt. In very good condition. Binding with some minor wear, corners slightly bumped, front board with three small holes in the cloth.
An impressively large volume containing 120 issues of an influential temperance journal, established to "promote the health, wealth and happiness of the working classes", as the first issue states.
"The British Workman and Friend of the Sons of Toil was a lavishly illustrated, four page, penny, broadsheet publication, offering a miscellany of spiritually and morally uplifting pictures and short articles covering temperance, religion, thrift, kindness to animals, industry and peace. It was printed on high quality paper, noted for the superior quality of images and letterpress" (Murray).
Smithies, a prominent member of the Temperance Movement, used illustrations as a didactic tool and illustrated his journal with evocative work by such eminent artists as George Cruikshank and Sir John Gilbert.
Cf. Murray, 'Often Taken Where a Tract is Refused: T.B. Smithies, the British Workman, and the Popularisation of the Religious and Temperance Message', in: The Lure of Illustration in the Nineteenth Century (2009), pp. 149-167.