English draughtsman and engraver, one of the most eminent of English caricaturists. During his career he engraved over 1500 prints and invented, almost single-handed, the genre of British political caricature.
In his lifetime he was feared and admired; his reputation waned in the strait-laced moral climate that succeeded the Regency.
He began his career as an engraver of letter-heads and although he later studied at the Royal Academy Schools, he seems to have been largely self-trained. After the publication of his print A New Way to Pay the National Debt (1786), a satire on the royal family, he found his bent in caricature and achieved enormous popularity. He enlarged the scope of Hogarth
s satire, making his caricature more personal than Hogarth
s general social comment, and he showed great fecundity and vividness of imagination. In 1831 the Athenaeum described him as a caterpillar on the green leaf of Reputation . His career was cut short by insanity in 1811.
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