Skip to main content

Gillray, James

Gillray, James (1756–1815). Caricaturist. Abandoning the discipline of reproductive engraving for pungently witty etching, and stimulated by the political satires of James Sayers but concealing his own views, Gillray played a key role in the evolution of pictorial journalism by his development of recognizable caricature and rapid response to events. Using brightly coloured, almost grotesque distortion of an individual's salient features, to conjure amusement or contempt, Gillray targeted the royal family, politicians, society figures, exquisites, and charlatans. Fashionable London both approved and feared. From 1791 he settled down to etch almost exclusively for the printseller Hannah Humphrey, lodging over her West End shop, and briefly in receipt of a Tory pension, but generally retaining his independence. Failing eyesight (probably stemming from his meticulous craftsmanship) and increasing insanity from 1810 hastened his decline.

A. S. Hargreaves

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gillray, James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gillray, James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gillray-james

"Gillray, James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gillray-james

Gillray, James

James Gillray (gĬl´rā), 1757–1815, English caricaturist and illustrator. He was essentially self-trained although he studied at the Royal Academy and on the Continent. His caricatures of the court of George III made him immensely popular. His masterly delineations, vigorous, clever, often subtle, sometimes vulgar and grotesque, numbered more than 12,000. Among his best-known cartoons are A New Way to Pay the National Debt (1796), Social Elements in Skating (1805), and A Rake's Progress at the University (1806). Insanity ended his career in 1811.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gillray, James." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gillray, James." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gillray-james

"Gillray, James." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gillray-james

Gillray, James

Gillray, James (1757–1815) English caricaturist. His political and social satire was wider in scope than that of Hogarth. Gillray lampooned George III as ‘Farmer George’. William Pitt and Napoleon I appear in “The Plum Pudding in Danger”.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gillray, James." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gillray, James." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gillray-james

"Gillray, James." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gillray-james