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Gillray, James (1756 - 1815)

James Gillray original cartoon print.

James Gillray was the leading caricaturist of the late eighteenth century, and is generally recognised as the father of the political cartoon. Gillray worked exclusively for Hannah Humphrey, the younger sister of William Humphrey of Gerrard Street. Gillray's engravings helped Humphrey become London's leading print-seller. In 1793, Gillray starting living in a room above Hannah Humphrey's shop in Old Bond Street. He also accompanied her when she moved to new premises in 1794 (New Bond Street) and 1797 (St James's Street). Gillray appears to have held liberal views in his youth but after 1793 he became a supporter of William Pitt and the Tories. When a friend asked Gillray why his prints were so critical of the Whigs he replied: "they are poor, they do not buy my prints and I must draw on the purses of the larger parties." Gillray's cartoons were especially critical of Radicals such as Charles Fox.