A satire on water pollution in the River Thames, 1832.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
George Cruickshank drew this caricature to illustrate a satirical poem 'The Royal Addres of Cadwallader ap-Tudor ap-Edwards ap-Vaughan, Water-King of - Southwark' about one of the topical concerns of the day - water pollution of the River Thames. By the 1830s public concern at the quality of London's water was growing. In 1831 and 1832, the city suffered its first cholera outbreaks, although at the time the connection between the disease and a contaminated water supply was not realised. After a period spent illustrating children's books and songs, Cruikshank made his name as a political caricaturist with 'The Scourge' (1811-1816) and 'The Meteor' (1813-1814). He went on to become one of the most well-known caricaturists of his age.