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Pro Bono Publico: James Gillray and the Art of Satire

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Young Girl with Basket

18th-19th century
31.1 cm x 21.5 cm (12 1/4 in. x 8 7/16 in.)

James Gillray (London, 1757 - 1815, London) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, English
Medium and Support: wood engraving
Credit Line: The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
            
               Accession Number:                2002.1208             
            
Object Description: In all English satire, Gillray’s imagery is the most original and outrageous. His hand and technique are consonantly uninhibited, unsanitized, and powerful. The Steinberg Collection adds one typical subject to the Blanton’s previous holdings of eight fine, early printings of Gillray’s satires. This print is an anomaly. The subject and above all the technique –– positive drawing upon the copper plate with acid resist, so that biting subtracts the negative areas of the composition –– indicate an experiment by the artist. Only a handful of impressions are known. Inherent interest aside, the experiment paralleled the development of wood engraving and predicted Blake’s pursuit of relief etching.

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