Gillray Caricatures: Collectors and connoisseurs

The foibles of rich men form a rich area for satire and Gillray often targeted art collectors. In A cognocenti contemplating ye beauties of ye antique (D12755), he used objects associated with Sir William Hamilton's interest in the antique to make fun of his domestic situation: at this time his wife Emma was having an affair with Nelson. On the table in front of Hamilton is a broken bust of Lais, an ancient Greek courtesan, representing Emma. Emma and Nelson are also shown on the wall in contemporary portraits labelled 'Cleopatra' and 'Mark Antony', while Hamilton's own image, labelled 'Claudius', is in a frame surmounted by cuckold's horns.

Gillray Caricatures