College Comforts, A Freshman Taking Possession of his Rooms

[Isaac] Robert Cruikshank, “College Comforts, A Freshman Taking Possession of his Rooms,” in Charles Molloy Westmacott, The English Spy: an Original Work, Characteristic, Satirical, and Humorour. Comprising Scenes and Sketches in Every Rank of Society, Being Portraits of the Illustrious, Eminent, Eccentric, and Notorious. Drawn from the Life by Bernard Blackmantle … London: Sherwood, Jones, and Company, 1825-26.

This beautiful hand-colored etching is found opposite the lines: “Men are my subject, and not fictions vain;// Oxford my chaunt, and satire is my strain,” which precede Westmacott’s chapter entitled The Freshman, in part 4 of The English Spy. Note the “list of necessaries” being given to the young man as he enters his room.

For about 3 shillings in 1826, you could purchase the new installment of Bernard Blackmantle’s story (a pseudonym for Westmacott). This book has been described as “perhaps the most daring book every published”, since many of the characters were drawn from life, and were, at the time of publication, undoubtedly easy to recognize.

These 2 volumes are in the 24 original wrappers, each wrapper having on the front cover, a reproduction of the uncolored plate, “The Five Pincipal Orders of Society.” The set contains 72 colored plates, including 67 by Robert Cruikshank, 2 by Thomas Rowlandson, and one each by Wageman and Brightly; along with 36 woodcut illustrations. It can be seen in the graphic arts division, rare books and special collection: GA Cruik R 1825.3