Saturday, 12 December 2015

James Gillray (1756-1815)



Satirist to Insanity: celebrating the life and work of James Gillray (1756-1815)
Ian Keable
24th November 2015

One of the great pleasures of speakers at the monthly meetings is finding out about topics that you may know very little of or even not at all and being entertained and coming away feeling quite knowledgeable. A true learning experience.
That was certainly the case when Ian Keable told us about James Gillray. One may recall the name or even the satirical engravings but maybe not make the connection. He was one of the most famous graphic artists of the eighteenth century and the pioneer of the modern political cartoon. This year (2015) is the bicentennial of his death - sadly he died insane in 1815. Copiously illustrated with his wonderful and graphic prints, Ian's talk focused on his life and works. I don't think we will ever again look at a cartoon in the same way.

He made the link between modern day satirists and the history of the art. Those of us who had visited the Beefeater Distillery a few days before easily recognised Hogarth's Gin Lane displayed in the museum. Clearly many were interested as it was one of our biggest attendances with almost 80 people present. 

Thanks, Ian, for sharing your expertise with great aplomb. We thoroughly enjoyed it.