I shall be teaching a new Special Option course for third-year undergraduates at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London from October 2018. Here’s a brief outline….
Graphic Satire in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Dr Kate Grandjouan
This course investigates one hundred years of graphic satire – a vigorous, reactive and humorous art form that flourished in London during the 18th-century. ‘Graphic satire’ describes an image that could be designed by an artist but was sold by a publisher and which circulated as an urban commodity. As this type of visual culture provided a vehicle for morality and for political commentary, graphic satires were exploited by governments and employed as propaganda. The course will trace the pictorial history of the 18th-century graphic satire. It will link visual subjects to contemporary discourses about the state of the British nation and to its status as a commercial, imperial and military power as well as to broader patterns of artistic production and consumption, such as the development of a lively public sphere where a free press, mass media and vibrant public spaces for the arts were producing significant transformations in the ways in which culture was being used and understood. ‘British’ satirical imagery frequently sprouted from cosmopolitan roots and foreigners were often at the forefront of satirical production. This is why alongside the major artists like William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and James Gillray, we shall be paying close attention to the many foreign artists, dealers and designers whose names are less familiar today. The artistic legacies for this type of art are enormous and with comprehensive collections of graphic satire within easy reach of the Courtauld Institute, participants will have plenty of opportunities for studying them at first hand. Visits will also include a trip to the ‘British Cartoon Archive’ at the University of Kent, to think about the sorts of continuities that can be established between the earlier forms and functions of graphic satire as it developed in England and the operation of the satirical image in Britain today.