Vignettes of British Caricature, 1740 - 1940
This is an outline of two hundred years of British caricature. It begins in the 1740s with a portrayal of Walpole's alleged bottom flagrantly exhibited at the centre of royal patronage. In the 1780s a 'Golden Age' of satire was dominated by coarse images of Fox, Pitt, George III, Lord North and Prince George. The mid-1800s witnessed an evolution in manners, which made the bawdy humour of 'The Golden Age' less popular. The first cartoons were far more sophisticated and restrained by Victorian propriety. The period also witnessed numerous examples of individuals menacing the world.
In the early 1800s audiences witnessed Pitt and Napoleon carving-up the great globe itself. Their insatiable appetites appeared to menace the world. The notion of menacing the world was certainly a theme that applied to the 1900s. The rise of the dictators in the 1920s and 1930s saw the eventual collusion of Hitler and Stalin crush Poland in 1939. Perhaps the least menacing of the triumvirate of dictators was Mussolini, who on fearing exclusion from the spoils of war, declared war only when he thought it was safe to do so.Chosen for their impression and their attention to detail, these vignettes represent the satirists' view of those characters and/or events that forged opinions and shaped the outcome of British (and World) history.
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