29September 2021

James Gillray, A Caterpiller on the Green Leaf of Reputation

Ms. Linda Smith

British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810. Many of his works are held at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

James Gillray may well be the greatest political cartoonist who ever lived. He did not invent the art of caricature, but in his hands, it became a highly sophisticated and inventive aspect of the visual culture of his day. The breathtaking audacity and sheer rudeness of his work still have the power to make people laugh out loud, and has ensured that his images retain freshness and vivacity which present-day satirists still revere. Through his work, we can get a glimpse of the riotous society in which he lived, and see how the larger-than-life public figures and political personalities of the times were viewed by this master of disrespect.

Ms. Linda Smith

Holds two first-class degrees in Art History. A broad knowledge of art historical subjects, but specialises in British Art and twentieth century art. Experienced lecturer and guide, especially at Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Has lectured to a wide variety of audiences in different venues, including school and university students, and independent arts societies in the UK and overseas.