Thursday, December 24, 2009

James Gillray: Two Satiric Prints

Satiric prints and caricatures were popular among a rapidly growing population of urban city dwellers living in London and other European cities during the late eighteenth- to early nineteenth centuries. They served to critique prevailing political, social, and religious situations through ridicule and humor. Most of the prints were usually sold by print shops and were often displayed in store windows or pinned up to boards outside the store, in order to attract customers. The prints were purchased by British consumers from every class and background.
James Gillray (1756–1815), one of the best-known British caricaturists and engravers of his day, produced over 1500 prints responding to the political and social events of his day. It is said that he pioneered British political caricature as a genre and, together with his contemporaries Thomas Rowlandson and George Cruikshank, established caricature as a popular art form with a broad appeal.

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