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Impolite Interventions?

English Satirical Prints in the Presence of the Academy, c. 1750–1780

Danielle Thom

This article examines the reciprocity between satirical and academic modes of image making, and locates that relationship within the context of an emergent bourgeois public sphere. The cultural and commercial imperatives of that sphere enabled its inhabitants to engage with conflicting modes of cultural output, consuming grotesque and bawdy satire as an exercise in political autonomy, while simultaneously emulating 'elite' politeness. In particular, the commercial growth and increasing visibility of satirical prints challenged the polite hierarchy of art as it was understood by the nascent academies and societies of art established in the same period. This process of establishment needs to be re-framed in the context of satirical intervention, and will be examined via two paintings that provoked distinct satirical responses: Benjamin West's The Death of Wolfe and Francis Hayman's The See-Saw. Correspondingly, satirical print culture itself can be reframed in light of its use (and parody) of academic visual tropes and techniques.

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John Moores

The German journal London und Paris called James Gillray 'the foremost living artist in his genre, not only amongst Englishmen, but amongst all European nations'. Despite the scholarly attention he has attracted, many of Gillray's individual works have yet to receive rigorous analysis. One such neglected print is National Conveniences (1796), assumed to be a crude, straightforward expression of national supremacy. However, a closer reading shows Gillray employing the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau both to undermine notions of English superiority and to assail a particular personal adversary. With this reading in mind, we can reassess references to Rousseau in Gillray's other prints, and propose a new direction from which to approach his greater oeuvre.

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The Crown and the Crowd

Sublimations of Monarchy in Georgian Satirical Prints

David Morgan

This article attempts to account for an apparently wholesale reversal in the visual satirical treatment of the British Crown and its incumbents during the later Georgian and Victorian eras. Using a range of prints from across the Georgian era, some of which have not hitherto been widely published, I argue that the rise of modern parliamentary politics on the one hand, and the threat of war and invasion on the other, created a satirical environment in which the institution of the Crown became effectively sublimated in terms of popular perception; at the same time, the figure of the king himself, his ‘body natural’, became dissociated from the institution that he nominally embodied, such that he could safely be visually lampooned in the manner associated with Gillray and other visual satirists of his generation.

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Editorial

European Comic Art Reaches Its Tenth Year

The Editors

With this issue, European Comic Art, the first peer-reviewed academic journal on comics, moves into its tenth year of existence. Over the past few years, the field has become more crowded, as scholarly interest in comics has expanded, but the quality and quantity of submissions that we receive is ever increasing. We are proud to have published articles by major comics theorists, as well as by emerging young researchers, and to have contributed to debates on formal, graphic and narrative resources of the medium; temporality and duration in comics; adaptation and the mutual influence between comics and other arts, including the novel, film, fine art (especially modernism) and the performing arts; and the diverse influences on the development of comics, including caricature and satirical prints.

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James Baker

On 18 September 1809, Covent Garden Theatre reopened, lavishly decorated after the devastating fire of the previous year. Far from being an occasion of celebration, an increase in prices and the architectural redistribution raised the ire of London's theatregoers, sparking months of sustained protest. Known as the Old Price riots, these protests received widespread attention in the metropolitan press. They also prompted various responses from London's satirical print trade. This article will explore the output of these two publicly facing media with respect to the Old Price riots as means of examining the differing processes of reportage they functioned within. It will argue that despite operating on a 'virtual' plane of reportage, that during the Old Price riots graphic satire escaped the confines of its virtuality and became an active agent in Georgian anti-authoritarian protest.