- Extended Catalogue Entry
by James Gillray
watercolour on ivory, circa 1800
3 in. x 2 1/2 in. (76 mm x 64 mm) oval
Given by Charles Bagot, 1859
Sitterback to top
- James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Sitter in 7 portraits, Artist associated with 881 portraits.
Artistback to top
- James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Artist associated with 881 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Gillray was the greatest and most definitive political and social caricaturist of the age, producing caricatures of royalty, politics and social life. This self-portrait shows him around 1800 when he was at the height of his powers, turning out formidable Napoleonic satires and siding with William Pitt. The miniature may have been given to his friend and publisher Hannah Humphrey.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Holmes, Richard, The Romantic Poets and Their Circle, 2013, p. 51
- Holmes, Richard, Insights: The Romantic Poets and Their Circle, 2005, p. 40
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 247
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 99 Read entry
James Gillray's short and feverish life was spent, to the delight of Londoners, in the production of scandalous and satirical caricatures ridiculing his fellows, from the royal family downwards. George III, his frugal wife Charlotte and the gluttonous Prince of Wales were special victims of his savage attacks. His satires, turned out by the hundred in garishly coloured etchings, were sold from Mrs Humphry's printshops in Old Bond Street and St James's Street, where he lodged above the premises and eventually died, insane. This portrait was the Gallery's second miniature acquisition, presented by Charles Bagot in 1859.
- Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 215
- Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantic Icons, 1999, p. 35
Events of 1800back to top
Current affairsWidespread food riots after poor harvests of 1798-9. Theorist, Thomas Malthus, controversially argues that poverty and food shortages are an inevitable consequence of population growth, challenging assumptions that populousness was a sign of national prosperity and power. His thesis contributed forcefully to the debate over the existing Poor Law.
Art and scienceWilliam Wordsworth publishes his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads; a retrospective explanation of his experimental poems written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It becomes one of the best-known manifestos of Romantic literature.
InternationalLord Castlereagh, Chief Secretary for Ireland, is the main architect of the Act of Union under which Ireland is merged with Great Britain and the Irish parliament is abolished.
British troops support successful uprising by Maltese against the French.
Napoleon is victorious against Austrians at Marengo and reconquers Italy.
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Framed & unframed prints