James Gillray and the Art of Caricature

October 8, 2019 through January 19, 2020

The career of English caricaturist James Gillray (1756–1815) spanned from the late eighteenth century to the first decade of the nineteenth century. During this period, which encompassed the turbulent events of both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, the caricature print gained status in England as a commercially successful and politically influential art form. With his flair for visual satire, skill as a printmaker, and canny appreciation for contemporary political culture, Gillray is perhaps the most celebrated of a generation of artists who found success as masters of a genre often deemed unsuited to the talents of reputable artists.

This presentation in the Annex stairwell is drawn from over one thousand prints by Gillray in possession of the Morgan Library & Museum. The seven hand-colored impressions on view were bequeathed to the Morgan by the literary scholar and author Gordon N. Ray (1915–1986).

James Gillray (British, 1756-1815), The cow-pock,-or-The wonderful effects of the new inoculation! - Vide - the Publications of ye Anti-Vaccine Society, 1802. Hand colored etching with aquatint. Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987; 1986.319