Gillray's Ghost

Cartoon Museum

4 November 2015 – 17 January 2016

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To mark the 200th anniversary of his death, an exhibition of political caricatures by James Gillray and other cartoonists who have been inspired by him.

Known as 'the father of the political cartoon', James Gillray was a brilliant satirist who used his work to call the king, prime ministers and high-ranking generals to account.

Born in Chelsea in west London, Gillray started out as a letter-engraver before being admitted as a student in the Royal Academy. He continued engraving in order to support himself while studying, producing caricatures under fictitious names. These works enjoyed huge success – crowds would gather to examine them from his publisher's shop window – and it is now thought as many as 1700 caricatures can be attributed to him.

Many of his harshest satires are directed against George III, who, after examining some of Gillray's sketches, was reported to have said 'I don't understand these caricatures'. Gillray responded with a new drawing in which he mocked the king's pretensions to be a connoisseur of art.

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Also featured are contemporary cartoonists and caricature artists whose work has been inspired by Gillray's in some way, such as Steve Bell, Dave Brown, George Cruikshank and Nicholas Garland.

Venue information

Opening times

Please note that the museum is currently closed and is relocating to a new site on Wells street. It will open in spring 2019.

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