Caricatures and Humor of a Time Gone By

Our world today is filled with cartoons and satires of just about everything, and the blooming of social media has only seemed to grow the number of caricatures. Whether it be a joke about coffee, politics, or haggard mothers, everywhere you turn someone’s using a picture and a few words to make a sarcastic comment.

Did you know Regency England had its own caricaturists? Obviously those caricatures looked a little different than today’s versions. They were oftentimes done in etched or done in other techniques we’d now consider antiquated.

James Gillray was one of the most famous caricaturists of the Georgian and Regency Eras, and much like today, he made satirical cartoons of everything from the commoners, to the royal family, to the Napoleonic Wars. Take a look at some of his work:



This caricature, Tales of Wonder, mocks the popularity of Gothic novels.



This one, The Cow Pock, mocks the new smallpox vaccination.



This caricature paints a rather unflattering picture of Prince George, who was know for being obese and gluttonous. It’s called A Voluptuary in the Throws of Indigestion.



This one, is called Plumb Pudding in Danger. It’s one of my favorites, featuring Pitt and Napoleon each carving up the world to their own liking. It has been dubbed the best know political print every published.


So what do you think of these caricatures? Do they seem different from modern caricatures, or not so much? Do you have a favorite caricature from the Regency Era? 

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