The volunteers visit the Cartoon Museum
This February we went to the Cartoon Museum on Little Russell Street to research historical cartoons and caricatures, to better contextualise the political satire of the time in terms of the broader history of visual and print culture.
It was particularly interesting to learn that the prints of Gillray, Cruikshank and many other artists associated with The Golden Age of Caricature would be published in large folders that could be rented for the weekend. People would often spend up to 20 minutes looking at an image trying to ensure that they had fully understood every layer of the joke!
Our visit also served as a great reminder of the extent that these artists’ perceptions still shape our ideas about the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although these images are topical they are not necessarily dated. Whilst some of them are incomprehensible to the modern eye without at least a little guidance, many are just as applicable today as they ever have been. However, we have not only been looking at contextualising a satirist’s mind with the life of Samuel Godley. The Cartoon Museum has also given us a great insight into the everyday quirks that would be seen on the streets of London!