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John Doyle

(1797—1868) cartoonist and painter


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(1797–1868), painter, caricaturist, leading political cartoonist of the late 1820s and 1830s, particularly on the issues of the Reform Act of 1832, the corn laws, and Catholic emancipation.

Born in Dublin, Doyle came to London in 1821, exhibiting occasionally with the Royal Academy. In 1827–8 he began the lithograph prints [22] known as Political Sketches, using the initials ‘H. B.’ Numbering 917 in all, and continuing to appear until 1851, these sketches appeared at irregular intervals in batches of four or five, usually once a month during the parliamentary session. Their realism, decorousness, and light satiric touch offered a marked contrast to the extravagantly vitriolic and scurrilous caricatures of earlier figures such as Thomas Rowlandson and James Gillray. Indeed, the almost complete absence of exaggeration suggests they are better described as cartoons than as caricatures. Full of shadowy, subtly elongated masculine figures, Doyle's cartoons offer a brooding, mordant political irony, as in his representation of Daniel O'Connell as the Whigs' ‘Political Frankenstein’. Doyle cartooned such leading figures as George IV, Peel, and Wellington.

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From An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).


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