Gillray's Prints

Output

One of the goals of this site is to allow students of Gillray to get a better understanding of his development and productivity. The table below, then, lists the number of prints he produced during his career—in most cases year by year. It also shows how the center of gravity shifted from political to social caricatures in any given year, but especially towards the end of his career.

Push-Pin. National Portrait Gallery, London
Push-Pin [1792]
© National Portrait Gallery, London

In dividing his work into political and social/personal satire, and assigning any given print to one category or another, I am simply following M. Dorothy George's decisions in the British Museum Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires. Her decisions are, of course, judgment calls and one could argue that any given print would be better characterized as social rather than political, or vice versa. But there is no one who knew the territory better than she, so I have deferred to her judgment.

She did not, however, include non-satiric prints like The Nancy Packet or Remembrance.These "serious" works I have therefore included in the "Other" column and they contribute to his total output. I have also created an additional column called "Portrait Caricature." Gillray is, of course, best known for his graphic commentary on the political and social scene. These are nearly always dramatic scenes involving multiple figures. But Gilray is also one of the most polished and innovative creators of what I have elsewhere called "portrait caricature" where the focus is most often on a single figure and where the intent is to "define" that figure in graphic form, to sum them up. But ever the satirist, Gillray often combines a brilliantly executed caricature of his subjects with a highly elaborated context that provides additional defining (and usually damning) details. This column, then, is meant to call attention to the number of prints (whether they are classified as political or social) that Gillray devoted to portrait caricature.

I have also included a link here to the opening and closing dates of the parliamentary sessions while Gillray was actively producing prints so that you can see to what extent his production of political and social caricatures coincides with sessions and recesses.

Temperance Enjoying a Frugal Meal. Trustees of the British Museum
Temperance Enjoying a Frugal Meal [1792]
© Trustees of the British Museum
Years Total Output Political
Caricature
Social
Caricature
Portrait
Caricature
Other
1775-79 18 5 13 1 0
1780 22 10 10 5 2
1781 13 3 9 4 1
1782 50 35 15 5 0
1783 25 20 4 1 1
1784 12 3 3 1 6
1785 7 4 0 0 3
1786 14 5 8 0 1
1787 20 17 1 0 2
1788 41 34 6 0 1
1789 21 15 5 4 1
1790 10 3 7 2 0
1791 44 25 19 15 0
1792 42 28 13 5 1
1793 24 21 4 1 0
1794 25 6 3 0 16
1795 54 39 14 16 1
1796 69 50 19 6 0
1797 44 25 19 9 0
1798 60 54 5 17 1
1799 49 37 11 16 1
1800 34 8 26 8 0
1801 28 8 20 8 0
1802 25 7 18 11 0
1803 36 22 14 11 0
1804 20 9 11 2 0
1805 24 12 12 0 0
1806 31 23 8 0 0
1807 20 13 7 3 0
1808 20 12 8 1 0
1809 23 16 7 5 0
1810 17 1 16 2 0
1811+ 4 1 3 2 0
TOTAL 957 571 348 172 38


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