Gillray Caricatures: National stereotypes

Gillray made extensive use of national stereotypes, as have humorists of all types before and since. His John Bull is often not the symbol of English national pride familiar from the late nineteenth and twentieth century, but a stolid and sometimes unintelligent man, easily taken advantage of by politicians. Opening of the budget; - or - John Bull giving his breeches to save his bacon (D12583), for example, refers to the tax demands placed on John Bull due to the war with France. Gillray was unafraid of targeting fellow Britons: his Sawney in the bog-house (D12978) is a particularly unpleasant image of the stereotyped uncouth Scot; and he also had an established cast of characters to represent European foreigners.

Gillray Caricatures