Fine art, Prints, drawings and watercolours, Caricatures

The Collection

Your selection

Title

Actions

Buy this image Add this to a collection
Tags
Share or embed this object   
 

The Liberty of the Subject [the Press Gang] (caricature)

PAG8527
Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Prints, drawings and watercolours, Caricatures
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAG8527
Description [No.15.] At the time this print was made 'liberty' was most generally understood as the concept of 'British liberty' as a whole, in opposition to foreign and especially Catholic 'tyranny'. The title is therefore more satirical than it probably seems today, vaunting the supposed 'liberty' of the common Englishman in a scene of a poor tailor being seized by a Naval press-gang in the City of London: the dome behind is that of St Paul's Cathedral. The resistance of the crowd is also notable: the press-gang was never popular and the print was made in 1779, just after France and Spain entered the War of American Independence on the side of the American rebels, for whom there was considerable radical sympathy in Britain. This turned it into a world wide war, and one requiring more men to man the fleet against those of these two powerful European enemies. However, the image deliberately misrepresents how the press operated, since it it was looking for seamen, not untrained and unfit landsmen, and those sometimes swept up were usually released on further enquiry. Though the print is unsigned it is generally believed to be an early example of Gillray's work as an engraver, though possibly from a drawing by John Hamilton Mortimer. [PvdM 10/08] Bound in album PAG8512 with prints PAG8513-PAG8647; PAG8649- PAG8666.
Date made 15 Oct 1779

Artist/Maker Humphrey, W
Gillray, James
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials etching, hand-coloured
Measurements Sheet: 259 x 367 mm
Parts
Help us

Do you know more about this?

Share your knowledge