Satirical cartoons are designed to lampoon their intended targets. These are often, but not always, political in nature. Satirists sometimes portray their targets in stocks and pillories, a graphic and effective device for making the target appear ridiculous and undermining their credibility.
Here are some examples of satirical cartoons:
Albinia, Countess of Buckinghamshire (pictured), was notorious for her gambling parties in the late 18th and
early 19th centuries. She was particularly fond of faro, an illegal gambling game. Albinia and her aristocratic lady friends were often
attacked in satirical prints because of their gambling and decadent lifestyles. |
In 1796 Lord Chief Justice Lord Kenyon had proclaimed: "If any prosecutions [against gambling] are fairly brought before me and the parties are justly convicted, whatever may be their rank or station in the country, though they should be the first ladies in the land, they shall certainly exhibit themselves in the Pillory".
All eyes turned to Lady Buckinghamshire's infamous gaming tables. Albinia and her friend, Lady Archer, were reported to the authorities for playing the illegal game of faro. They were charged and found guilty of running a faro table, and taking in a little too much money on it (Albinia was also a cheat). Despite Lord Kenyon's threat to have illicit gamblers pilloried, the aristocratic pair were merely fined.
This cartoon is entitled “Exaltation of Faro's daughters”. Albinia, Countess of Buckinghamshire (left) and Lady Archer are shown in the pillory, as the mob pelts them with rotten vegetables. Below, a notice reads: "Cure for Gambling, published by Lord Kenyon in the Court of King's Bench". The cartoon perhaps satirises Lord Kenyon as much as it does Albinia and Lady Archer.
Despite all this unwelcome attention, Albinia remained unrepentant. Her gambling and general decadence continued unabated until her death in 1816.
Other contemporary satirists could not resist Faro's Daughters. Here are some of their cartoons:
The Pic Nic Society was a fashionable theatrical club founded in London in 1802, which attracted various decadent aristocrats....and also the attention of satirists.
The man and the woman sitting in the ornate stocks in the centre are Colonel Greville and Lady Buckinghamshire. Yes, its Albinia again (see "Faro's Daughters"
above). The first performance by the Society was a comedy set in Spain under the Moors, hence the Moorish costumes.
As players at an unlicensed theatre these amateur actors colud potentially be threatened with vagrancy proceedings, which is why the satirist has depicted them in the stocks: "The new and elegant St Giles cage. Erected on purpose for the dillitanti theatrical society." (1802) by Charles Williams.
In the Interest of Labor and Morality
Other satirical American cartoonsUnfortunately I have no information on the following American cartoons. If anyone can shed some light on either of these, I would be most grateful.
In 1805 Lady Charlotte Douglas (pictured) made a number of accusations against Princess Caroline, the wife of the future King George IV. Lady Douglas alleged that Princess Caroline was an adulteress, and that her adopted son was a bastard from an illicit affair. Lady Douglas also claimed that Princess Caroline had been rude about the royal family, and had touched her in an inappropriately sexual way. A secret commission investigated these claims and found no substance to them. No action was taken against Lady Douglas, possibly to avoid further scandal.
In 1813 Lady Douglas reiterated these allegations in writing, and swore an oath to their veracity. This sparked yet more outrage, mainly against Lady Douglas as Princess Caroline was popular with the public. The punishment for perjury was the pillory, so Lady Douglas should have been publicly pilloried for making false allegations under oath. But once again the matter was swept under the carpet as a damage limitation exercise. However public opinion was in no doubt that Lady Douglas should have stood in the pillory.
The cartoon depicts a pillory outside Montagu House, the residence of Princess Caroline. The upper half of the pillory is being raised in readiness for Lady Douglas, who can be seen on the platform surrounded by a festive crowd.
The speech bubbles are numerous and hard to read, but here are a few examples. A woman holds out her apron to collect mud (or horse manure) shovelled up by a man who says: "Give her enough! She wants a mask to hide her shameless face." A woman with a large basket on her arm cries: "Buy my nice Pillory Nuts! My Warm Douglas gingerbread." A man with a wooden leg stands beside his pannier-laden donkey shouting: "Fine high flavour'd rotten Eggs sixpence a hundred!" A man holds out his hat, saying, "Lets have a hat full! a rotten Egg is a good antagonist to a corrupt heart." A boy holds out his hat, saying, "master give us a few I'm a desperate good marksman." In Montagu House, Princess Caroline looks out on the spectacle, saying: "This is my hour of Triump [sic]".
A cartoon by Thomas Tegg, published in 1815. This was part of a tradition of "humorous" images of "tyrannical" wives which continued through the 18th century and into the 19th century. The picture is based upon "The Taming of the Shrew", portraying the husband as Petruchio who is taming his errant wife. Above the bed is a sign "Love Honour and Obey", a reminder of the wife's marriage vows.
Although it may appear wildly misogynistic to modern eyes, this cartoon is very much a product of its time. An age when a wife was basically her husband's property, and she was expected to obey him. A married woman was not allowed to own any property in her own right, and she could be lawfully beaten by her husband.