Political caricature and satirical prints in Britain, 1700-1840

Bolton Branch

Published 18th May 2017

Event Type: Branch

Takes Place: 24th May 2017

Time: 10.30am-12.30pm

Venue: Bolton Museum, Le Mans Crescent

Description: In a joint venture between the Historical Association’s Bolton Branch and Bolton Library and Museum Service, Dr Henry Miller (who moves to Durham from the University of Manchester later this year) will speak on ‘Political caricature and satirical prints in Britain, 1700-1840’. The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the golden age of caricature in Britain. Single sheet prints, often vividly coloured, became a key part of urban culture and public life, especially in London, and caricaturists like James Gillray and George Cruikshank achieved great fame. This lecture firstly examines the key features in the emergence of political caricature and satirical prints in this period, discussing the formats and style of the prints, including the use of grotesque physical exaggeration and different printing technologies. How far prints, which were often expensively priced and sold in West End shops to an aristocratic clientele, were genuinely popular with a wider public is worth considering in the light of recent scholarship. Secondly, the lecture discusses the role of caricature in politics, particularly during the tumultuous period of the wars with revolutionary and Napoleonic France (1793-1815) when Radicals and Tories both made use of caricature to ridicule their opponents and win the propaganda war. Finally, the lecture considers the apparent decline of political caricature and satirical prints in the 1830s and 1840s, the reasons for this and their legacy. It will be followed by an opportunity for 20 people to experience at close quarters the sort of cartoons that Dr Miller uses for his research, with a hands-on session in the museum.

How to book: Although the lecture can accommodate a large audience, due to limits on the archive material, booking is essential for this workshop. Please contact the secretary for details.

Price: £4 for visitors

Tel: 01772 930330

Email: boltonhistory@aol.com

Website: www.boltonhistoricalassociation.wordpress.com

Organiser: Dr J. Hyde

Lecturer: Dr Henry Miller

Region: North-West England

Branch: Bolton