Anglo-French Encounters: National Identity and Graphic Satire c.1688-1815.
My book is concerned with the transmission of an influential and variegated body of work that crystallised in the eighteenth century and which helped to define the nation by making an externalised other exist visually. This ‘externalised other’ is the French. Where existing studies consider the French narrowly and within shorter periods of time, my approach, on the contrary, is broad and inter-medial. I emphasise the interplay between indigenous traditions and cosmopolitan networks to show how this type of graphic satire resulted from dialectical, cross-channel processes where concepts of the French and the anti-french interacted in complex ways. The main question my book asks is how did 18th-century visual satires create and sustain ideas about the French? The study gives a central place to the designs of William Hogarth but it also shows how the seminal images of the century belonged to a more vibrant visual culture than has hitherto been recognised. The visual satires I discuss are situated within the broader dynamics of European exchange and they are examined for their mediation of a wide range of materials. As the century progresses, French related satire spreads across pictorial categories (drawings, paintings and prints) and starts to operate within different aesthetic registers, seeking the complicity of different publics and transmitting a cultural legacy that is more elusive than it has been made to appear. In recovering the cosmopolitan dimensions of Anglo-French subjects my book hopes to make an important contribution to existing scholarship which has traditionally homogenised satirical production to the activities of British-born artists, and precisely at those moments when this type of graphic production was displaying such diversity.