The Age of Caricature (Hardcover)
Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)
Paul Mellon Centre BA, 9780300066050, 256pp.
Publication Date: March 27, 1996
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Donald analyzes the meanings of the prints, applying current perspectives on the eighteenth century about the changing roles of women and constructions of gender, the alleged rise of a consumer society, the growth of political awareness outside aristocratic circles, and the problems of defining "class" values in the later Georgian era. She discusses, for example, the social position of the Georgian satirist within the hierarchy of high and low art production; the relation between the shifting styles of political prints and the antagonisms of different political cultures; caricatures of fashion as expressions of ambivalent attitudes to luxury and "high society"; treatment of the crowd in the prints and the light this sheds on the myth of the freeborn Englishman; and what caricatures reveal about British reactions to the French Revolution in the 1790s. Donald concludes by describing the demise of the Georgian satirical print in the early nineteenth century, which she attributes in part to the new and urgent political purposes of radicals in the post-Napoleonic era. Illustrated with works by Gillray, Rowlandson, and other artists, many of which have never been published before, the book will be an enlightening and enjoyable reference for scholars and the general reader.