Broadsides: Caricature and the Navy 1775–1815


19 Oct 2012–30 April 2013. This exhibition has now closed.


National Maritime Museum

This exhibition has now closed

This exhibition explores the history of the Royal Navy, late 18th to early 19th centuries, through the acerbic wit of caricature of that time.

This was a period of intense naval activity which included the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence, and the wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. A new and popular form of graphic satire also emerged, as caricature developed into a highly sophisticated art form. Contemporary political and naval events were dissected with biting humour and a journalistic concern for current affairs.

A selection from the Museum’s extensive collection of caricatures is on show, highlighting important naval actions and personalities, and presenting a unique perspective on the Navy’s place in British society and culture. In doing so, the exhibition also illuminates the continuing contemporary relevance of political caricature and graphic satire.

Image: detail of 'John Bull taking a Luncheon: - or - British Cooks, cramming Old Grumble-Gizzard, with Bonne-Chere, by James Gillray; H. Humphrey, published 24 October 1798. Repro ID: PW3941. ©NMM, Greenwich, London

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