Advantages of wearing muslin dresses! / Js. Gillray,inv: & ft.
A fat lady, sitting with a man and woman at a tea table, reacts in horror as a hot poker from the fire falls on her dress and sets it on fire. The man sits helplessly while the second woman upsets the table in her alarm. A butler, entering the room, drops a plate of muffins, and a cat scampers away from the fire. A painting of Mt. Vesuvius hangs over the fireplace.
Forms part of: British Cartoon Prints Collection (Library of Congress).
Exhibited: Gillray and the Art of Caricature.
Catalog of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires, v. 8, no. 9933
It wasn't really until the 1700s that caricature truly blossomed as a form of political criticism. In the late 1750s, a man named Thomas Townshend began using the techniques employed by earlier engravers and applying them towards a political model. This gave Thompson's cartoons a much greater feeling of propaganda than previous artistic critiques of the time. The intense political climate of the period, and often accusatory nature of most political cartoons forced many artists to use pseudonyms in order to avoid accusations of libel. Other artists took it a step farther, and left their cartoons completely unsigned, foregoing any credit they may have received. Political higher-ups were notoriously touchy about their reputations and were not afraid to make examples of offenders. Puck was the first successful humor magazine in the United States of colorful cartoons, caricatures and political satire of the issues of the day. It was published from 1871 until 1918.