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Gillray, James.- Two Etchings on One Sheet, On Recto: Barbarities of the West Indias (Hand Colored, No. 49). On Verso: The Funeral Procession of Miss Regency (Uncolored, No. 47). London. Henry G. Bohn. 1845–51 [Publ. 1791]. 2 pages on 1 leaf. Illustrated by James Gillray. Printed from original plate of 1791 by Henry Bohn. 11-5/8” H x 18” W. Loose sheet of heavy rag paper. Refs.: Everitt, “Eng. Caricaturists” 1893, , Ch. I, II First Edition. From Bohn’s Collected Etchings of James Gillray, printed from the original plates, published originally by Hannah Humphrey (1791). Numbers in upper right corner of each etching. James Gillray (1756 or 1757–1815) was, with William Hogarth, among the greatest English caricaturists of the 18th century. His subjects were political satire, social satire, and general humor. Gillray’s work was done chiefly by etching, very rarely by engraving alone. Most of his work was first published by Miss Hannah Humphrey, an illustrious publisher of images at the time. Gillray, romantically involved with her, lived with her throughout his publishing life, but they never married. These etchings were originally published by her, as stated explicitly in the “Barbarities” image. Gillray began as a letter engraver, but became bored with this and joined a troupe of strolling players. After a period at the Royal Academy, issuing plates under other names, by 1779 he had begun publishing under his own name. His eyesight became a problem in 1806 and unable to keep up his high standards, he became progressively depressed, alcoholic, and gouty. His last work was in 1809; he became intermittently insane and was cared for by Miss Humphrey at her home and shop. Gillray died in 1815. His work was reprinted by Thomas Wright in 1830. It was reasembled by Henry G. Bohn in the period 1845–51; Bohn, through great effort, saved the copperplate etchings as he could from the copper metal salvagers and reissued them, both colored and uncolored, with added engraved numbers in fascicles issued between 1845 and 1851. The engravings presented here are two from that set, as indicated by the added numbers. The second plate, on the verso is uncolored and misregistered with the page. The latter printing error probably accounts for the lack of color in the misregistered etching. The paper was not wasted, but etching No. 49, “Barbarities”, was printed on the recto and likely issued separately from the assembled volume. The subject matter of the Recto etching is slavery and the torture of Blacks in the West Indies and has references in the etched text to Fox and to Wilberforce. The uncolored etching (Verso) hails the end of the Regency in mock grief. Mild soiling and a few small spots in margins. Two small closed tears at left margin and upper left ccrner. Trimmed close to platemark at top. Else, Very good.
Price: $1,250.00

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