|Born||13 August 1756 or 1757|
Chelsea, London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||1 June 1815 (aged 57 or 58)|
London, England, United Kingdom
James Gillray (13 August 1756 – 1 June 1815) was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810. Many of his works are held at the National Portrait Gallery in London.or 1757
Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is not considered a "copy" but rather is considered an "original". This is because typically each print varies to an extent due to variables intrinsic to the printmaking process, and also because the imagery of a print is typically not simply a reproduction of another work but rather is often a unique image designed from the start to be expressed in a particular printmaking technique. A print may be known as an impression. Printmaking is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple impressions, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.
Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. In modern manufacturing, other chemicals may be used on other types of material. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today. In a number of modern variants such as microfabrication etching and photochemical milling it is a crucial technique in much modern technology, including circuit boards.
Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.
Gillray has been called "the father of the political cartoon", with his works satirizing George III, prime ministers and generals.Regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists, the other being William Hogarth, Gillray's wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, and beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists.
A cartoonist is a visual artist who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is often created for entertainment, political commentary, or advertising. Cartoonists may work in many formats, such as booklets, comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, manuals, gag cartoons, graphic design, illustrations, storyboards, posters, shirts, books, advertisements, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, and video game packaging.
William Hogarth FRSA was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects", perhaps best known being his moral series A Harlot's Progress, A Rake's Progress and Marriage A-la-Mode. Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as "Hogarthian".
Wit is a form of intelligent humour, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. Witty means a person who is skilled at making clever and funny remarks. Forms of wit include the quip, repartee, and wisecrack.
He was born in Chelsea, London. His father, a native of Lanark, had served as a soldier: he lost an arm at the Battle of Fontenoy and was admitted, first as an inmate and subsequently as an outdoor pensioner, at Chelsea Hospital. Gillray commenced life by learning letter-engraving, at which he soon became adept. Finding this employment irksome, he then wandered for a time with a company of strolling players. After a chequered experience, he returned to London and was admitted as a student in the Royal Academy, supporting himself by engraving, and probably issuing a considerable number of caricatures under fictitious names. His caricatures are almost all in etching, some also with aquatint, and a few using stipple technique. None can correctly be described as engravings, although this term is often loosely used to describe them. Hogarth's works were the delight and study of his early years. Paddy on Horseback, which appeared in 1779, is the first caricature which is certainly his. Two caricatures on Admiral Rodney's naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes, issued in 1782, were among the first of the memorable series of his political sketches.
Chelsea is an affluent area of West London, bounded to the south by the River Thames. Its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above Sloane Square Underground station. The modern eastern boundary is Chelsea Bridge Road and the lower half of Sloane Street, including Sloane Square. To the north and northwest, the area fades into Knightsbridge and Brompton, but it is considered that the area north of King's Road as far northwest as Fulham Road is part of Chelsea.
Lanark is a small town in the central belt of Scotland. The name is believed to come from the Cumbric Lanerc meaning "clear space, glade".
The Battle of Fontenoy, 11 May 1745, was a major engagement of the War of the Austrian Succession, fought between the forces of the Pragmatic Allies – comprising mainly Dutch, British, and Hanoverian troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland – and a French army under Maurice de Saxe, commander of King Louis XV's forces in the Low Countries. The battle was one of the most important in the war and considered the masterpiece of Saxe, serving France; Louis XV, and his son, the Dauphin, were present at the battle.
The name of Gillray's publisher and print seller, Hannah Humphrey—whose shop was first at 227 Strand, then in New Bond Street, then in Old Bond Street, and finally in St James's Street—is inextricably associated with that of the caricaturist himself. Gillray lived with Miss (often called Mrs) Humphrey during the entire period of his fame. It is believed that he several times thought of marrying her, and that on one occasion the pair were on their way to the church, when Gillray said: "This is a foolish affair, methinks, Miss Humphrey. We live very comfortably together; we had better let well alone." There is no evidence, however, to support the stories which scandalmongers invented about their relations. One of Gillray's prints, "Twopenny Whist," is a depiction of four individuals playing cards, and the character shown second from the left, an ageing lady with eyeglasses and a bonnet, is widely believed to be an accurate depiction of Miss Humphrey.
Hannah Humphrey was a leading London print seller of the 18th century, significant in particular for being the publisher of much of James Gillray's output.
Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 3⁄4 mile (1,200 m) from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London, and is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London.
St James's Street is the principal street in the district of St James's, central London. It runs from Piccadilly downhill to St James's Palace and Pall Mall. The main gatehouse of the Palace is at the southern end of the road, and in the 17th century Clarendon House faced down the street across Piccadilly on the site of most of Albemarle Street.
Gillray's plates were exposed in Humphrey's shop window, where eager crowds examined them. One of his later prints, Very Slippy-Weather, shows Miss Humphrey's shop in St. James's Street in the background. In the shop window a number of Gillray's previously published prints, such as Tiddy-Doll the Great French Gingerbread Maker, Drawing Out a New Batch of Kings; His Man, Talley Mixing up the Dough, a satire on Napoleon's king-making proclivities, are shown in the shop window.
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
Gillray's eyesight began to fail in 1806. He began wearing spectacles but they were unsatisfactory. Unable to work to his previous high standards, James Gillray became depressed and started drinking heavily. He produced his last print in September 1809. As a result of his heavy drinking Gillray suffered from gout throughout his later life.
His last work, from a design by Bunbury, is entitled Interior of a Barber's Shop in Assize Time, and is dated 1811. While he was engaged on it he became mad, although he had occasional intervals of sanity, which he employed on his last work. The approach of madness may have been hastened by his intemperate habits.
In July 1811 Gillray attempted to kill himself by throwing himself out of an attic window above Humphrey's shop in St James's Street. Gillray lapsed into insanity and was looked after by Hannah Humphrey until his death on 1 June 1815 in London; he was buried in St James's churchyard, Piccadilly.
A number of his most trenchant satires are directed against George III, who, after examining some of Gillray's sketches, said "I don't understand these caricatures." Gillray revenged himself for this utterance by his caricature entitled, A Connoisseur Examining a Cooper, which he is doing by means of a candle on a "save-all"; so that the sketch satirises at once the king's pretensions to knowledge of art and his miserly habits.
During the French Revolution, Gillray took a conservative stance; and he issued caricature after caricature ridiculing the French and Napoleon (usually using Jacobin), and glorifying John Bull. A number of these were published in the Anti-Jacobin Review . He is not, however, to be thought of as a keen political adherent of either the Whig or the Tory party; his caricatures satirized members of all sides of the political spectrum.
The times in which Gillray lived were peculiarly favourable to the growth of a great school of caricature. Party warfare was carried on with great vigour and not a little bitterness; and personalities were freely indulged in on both sides. Gillray's incomparable wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, and beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists. He is honourably distinguished in the history of caricature by the fact that his sketches are real works of art. The ideas embodied in some of them are sublime and poetically magnificent in their intensity of meaning, while the forthrightness—which some have called coarseness—which others display is characteristic of the general freedom of treatment common in all intellectual departments in the 18th century. The historical value of Gillray's work has been recognized by many discerning students of history. As has been well remarked: "Lord Stanhope has turned Gillray to account as a veracious reporter of speeches, as well as a suggestive illustrator of events."
His contemporary political influence is borne witness to in a letter from Lord Bateman, dated 3 November 1798. "The Opposition," he writes to Gillray, "are as low as we can wish them. You have been of infinite service in lowering them, and making them ridiculous." Gillray's extraordinary industry may be inferred from the fact that nearly 1000 caricatures have been attributed to him; while some consider him the author of as many as 1600 or 1700. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, "Gillray is as invaluable to the student of English manners as to the political student, attacking the social follies of the time with scathing satire; and nothing escapes his notice, not even a trifling change of fashion in dress. The great tact Gillray displays in hitting on the ludicrous side of any subject is only equalled by the exquisite finish of his sketches—the finest of which reach an epic grandeur and Miltonic sublimity of conception."
Gillray's caricatures are generally divided into two classes, the political series and the social, though it is important not to attribute to the term "series" any concept of continuity or completeness. The political caricatures comprise an important and invaluable component of the history extant of the latter part of the reign of George III. They were circulated not only in Britain but also throughout Europe, and exerted a powerful influence both in Britain and abroad. In the political prints, George III, George's wife Queen Charlotte, the Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent, then King George IV), Fox, Pitt the Younger, Burke and Napoleon Bonaparte are the most prominent figures. In 1788 appeared two fine caricatures by Gillray. Blood on Thunder fording the Red Sea represents Lord Thurlow carrying Warren Hastings through a sea of gore: Hastings looks very comfortable, and is carrying two large bags of money. Market-Day pictures the ministerialists of the time as cattle for sale.
Among Gillray's best satires on George III are: Farmer George and his Wife, two companion plates, in one of which the king is toasting muffins for breakfast, and in the other the queen is frying sprats; The Anti-Saccharites, where the royal pair propose to dispense with sugar, to the great horror of the family; A Connoisseur Examining a Cooper; the paired plates A Voluptuary under the Horrors of Digestion and Temperance enjoying a Frugal Meal, satirising the excesses of the Prince Regent (later George IV of the United Kingdom) and the miserliness of his father, George III of the United Kingdom respectively; Royal Affability; A Lesson in Apple Dumplings; and The Pigs Possessed.
Other political caricatures include: Britannia between Scylla and Charybdis, a picture in which Pitt, so often Gillray's butt, figures in a favourable light; The Bridal Night; The Apotheosis of Hoche , which concentrates the excesses of the French Revolution in one view; The Nursery with Britannia reposing in Peace; The First Kiss these Ten Years (1803), another satire on the peace, which is said to have greatly amused Napoleon; The Hand-Writing upon the Wall; The Confederated Coalition, a swipe at the coalition which superseded the Addington ministry; Uncorking Old Sherry; The Plumb-Pudding in Danger (probably the best known political print ever published); Making Decent; Comforts of a Bed of Roses; View of the Hustings in Covent Garden; Phaethon Alarmed; and Pandora opening her Box.
As well as being blatant in his observations, Gillray could be incredibly subtle, and puncture vanity with a remarkably deft approach. The outstanding example of this is his print Fashionable Contrasts;—or—The Duchess's little Shoe yeilding [ sic ] to the Magnitude of the Duke's Foot. This was a devastating image aimed at the ridiculous sycophancy directed by the press towards Frederica Charlotte Ulrica, Duchess of York, and the supposed daintiness of her feet. The print showed only the feet and ankles of the Duke and Duchess of York, in an obviously copulatory position, with the Duke's feet enlarged and the Duchess's feet drawn very small. This print silenced forever the sycophancy of the press regarding the union of the Duke and Duchess.
The miscellaneous series of caricatures, although they have scarcely the historical importance of the political series, are more readily intelligible, and are even more amusing. Among the finest are: Shakespeare Sacrificed ; Two-Penny Whist (which features an image of Hannah Humphrey); Oh that this too solid flesh would melt; Sandwich-Carrots; The Gout ; Comfort to the Corns; Begone Dull Care; The Cow-Pock, which gives humorous expression to the popular dread of vaccination; Dilletanti Theatricals; and Harmony before Matrimony and Matrimonial Harmonics—two exceedingly good sketches in violent contrast to each other.
A selection of Gillray's works appeared in James Gillray: The Caricatures printed between 1818 and the mid-1820s and published by John Miller, Bridge Street and W. Blackwood, Edinburgh. Nine parts were released. The next edition was Thomas McLean's, which was published with a key, in 1830.
In 1851 Henry George Bohn put out an edition, from the original plates in a handsome elephant folio, with coarser sketches—commonly known as the "Suppressed Plates"—being published in a separate volume. For this edition Thomas Wright and Robert Harding Evans wrote a commentary, a history of the times embraced by the caricatures. Many copies of the Bohn Edition have been broken up into individual sheets and passed off as originals (see Collecting below). Although the two volumes of the Bohn Edition are often represented as being a complete collection of Gillray's works, this is not the case: for example, Doublûres of Characters is not included in either volume. This is most likely because this print was not published by Hannah Humphrey, but by John Wright for the Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine .
The next edition, entitled The Works of James Gillray, the Caricaturist: with the Story of his Life and Times (Chatto & Windus, 1874), was the work of Thomas Wright,and introduced Gillray to larger public. This edition, which is complete in one volume, contains two portraits of Gillray, and upwards of 400 illustrations.
Auction prices for Gillray's work have increased since the 1970s. At the auction of the Draper Hill Collection at Phillips auctioneers in London in 2001, several key prints, including Fashionable Contrasts, sold for more than US$10,000. Since 2002, annual auctions of Caricatures at Bonhams in London, each of which included large selections of Gillray prints, have continued this trend. An impression of Light expelling Darkness sold in 2006 for over US$9,000, while Fashionable Contrasts sold in the same year for over US$20,000.
This dramatic increase in prices has also led to unscrupulous sellers attempting to pass off prints from the Bohn Edition as originals, and it can be difficult for those unfamiliar with these practices to tell the difference between a restrike (commonly called "a Bohn") and an original. The key indicators of a print coming from the Bohn Edition are (i) the presence of a number in the top, right-hand corner of the print (the number is most commonly in the image itself, but may be outside in the margin); (ii) the fact that the Bohn edition was issued without colouring; and (iii) the fact that the strikes for the main published volumes of the Bohn Edition were printed on both sides of the paper (the Bohn Edition of the so-called "Suppressed Plates" was, like the originals, printed on one side of the paper only). However, the fact that a print is single-sided does not mean that it is not a Bohn restrike: there are in existence many Bohns (for example, Light expelling Darkness) that bear a number, but which are printed on one side of the paper only. These single-sided numbered strikes are almost always printed on much higher quality paper than was used for the bound volumes, and the quality of the printing is usually much superior too, with more care having been taken to ensure a crisp impression. These impressions are believed to have been struck by Henry Bohn with a view to colouring them, and then selling them as high-quality single prints, in much the same way as the prints published in Gillray's lifetime. There are many example of such single-sided restrikes, both coloured and uncoloured. Since prices for Bohns are usually between one-tenth and one-twentieth of those for originals, unscrupulous sellers will go to great lengths to disguise the fact that a print is a Bohn. Some common methods include: (i) tortuously worded descriptions, which attempt to avoid disclosure of the fact the print is a restrike (although some sellers will just plain lie); (ii) if the number is outside the image, trimming the print to the very edges of the image; (iii) if the number is inside the image, carefully abrading the surface to obliterate the number; (iv) cutting strips of the image to remove the number; (v) laying the print to paper or framing it such that it is difficult to determine whether there is printing on the reverse; and (vi) adding colour.
Also recently the prices of the John Miller editions are rapidly increasing in value because they are affordable for collectors and is seen as a solid investment. They are seen as good alternative to the desirable originals of Mrs. Humphrey's print shop.
Gillray is still revered as one of the most influential political caricaturists of all time, and among the leading cartoonists on the political stage in the United Kingdom today, both Steve Bell and Martin Rowson acknowledge him as probably the most influential of all their predecessors in that particular arena. Professor David Taylor, a University of Toronto expert in political satire, stated in 2013, “Without question, if the leading cartoonist back then — James Gillray — had depicted Rob Ford he would have been far more merciless than they are today.”
Regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists, the other being William Hogarth, Gillray has been called the father of the political cartoon.The 20th-century New Zealander cartoonist David Low described Hogarth as the grandfather and Gillray the father of the political cartoon. The face of Court Flunkey from the 1980s/1990s British television satirical puppet show Spitting Image is a caricature of Gillray, intended as a homage to the father of political cartooning.
An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon, is a drawing containing a commentary expressing the artist's opinion. An artist who writes and draws such images is known as an editorial cartoonist. They typically combine artistic skill, hyperbole and satire in order to question authority and draw attention to corruption, political violence and other social ills.
A caricature is a rendered image showing the features of its subject in a simplified or exaggerated way through sketching, pencil strokes, or through other artistic drawings.
James Sayers was an English caricaturist. Many of his works are described in the Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum which has an extensive holdings of his works collected at the time of original publication by Sarah Sophia Banks.
Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist of the Georgian Era, noted for his political satire and social observation. A prolific artist, he also wrote satirical verse under the pen name of Peter Pindar. Like other contemporary pre-Victorian caricaturists like James Gillray, he too depicted characters in bawdy postures and he also produced erotica which was censured by the 1840s. His caricatures included those of people in power such as the Duchess of Devonshire, William Pitt and Napoleon Bonaparte.
George Cruikshank was a British caricaturist and book illustrator, praised as the "modern Hogarth" during his life. His book illustrations for his friend Charles Dickens, and many other authors, reached an international audience.
John Kay was a Scottish caricaturist and engraver.
Isaac Cruikshank (1764–1811), Scottish painter and caricaturist, was born in Edinburgh and spent most of his career in London. Cruikshank is known for his social and political satire. His sons Isaac Robert Cruikshank (1789–1856) and George Cruikshank (1792–1878) also became artists, and the latter in particular achieved fame as an illustrator and caricaturist.
This is a timeline of significant events in comics prior to the 20th century.
Richard Newton was an English caricaturist, miniaturist and book illustrator.
George Murgatroyd Woodward (1765–1809) was an English caricaturist and humor writer. He was a friend and drinking companion of Thomas Rowlandson.
Charles Williams was a British caricaturist, etcher and illustrator. He was chief caricaturist between 1799 and 1815 for the leading British publisher S. W. Fores. He worked in a style similar to James Gillray. In his earlier works, Williams used the pseudonyms Ansell or Argus; with George Cruikshank and others he illustrated The Every-Day Book by William Hone, edited 1825–26.
Mary and Matthew Darly were English printsellers and caricaturists during the 1770s. Mary Darly was a printseller, caricaturist, artist, engraver, writer, and teacher. She wrote, illustrated, and published the first book on caricature drawing, A Book of Caricaturas [sic], aimed at "young gentlemen and ladies." Mary was the wife of Matthew Darly, also called Matthias, a London printseller, furniture designer, and engraver. Mary was evidently the second wife of Matthew; his first was named Elizabeth Harold.
William Humphrey (1740?–1810?) was an English engraver and printseller.
Piercy Roberts was an English publisher, printmaker, and caricaturist active between 1785 and 1824. Most of his prints are caricatures, some after his own designs and some after others such as George Moutard Woodward. He collaborated with Thomas Rowlandson on several prints, most notably a pair of portraits of Josephine Beauharnais and Napoleon.
The Plumb-pudding in danger, or, State Epicures taking un Petit Souper, is an 1805 editorial cartoon by the English artist James Gillray. The popular print depicts caricatures of the British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger and the newly-crowned Emperor of France Napoleon, both wearing military uniforms, carving up a terrestrial globe into spheres of influence. It was published as a hand-coloured print and has been described by the National Portrait Gallery as "probably Gillray's most famous print" and by the British Library as "one of Gillray’s most famous satires dealing with the Napoleonic wars".
William Elmes, was an English caricaturist.
Draper Hill was an American cartoonist and writer.
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