Lecture and Panel Discussion

May 1, 2024
Gillray's print The Introduction

The Limits of Free Speech: Gillray, The Royals and Censorship 

Lecture by Tim Clayton, author of James Gillray: A Revolution in Satire, followed by a panel discussion with contemporary British cartoonists Martin Rowson and Steve Bell. 

May 9, 2024, 

3:30 to 5:30 pm

Humanities Quadrangle Lecture Hall, L01

320 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511

Organized by The Lewis Walpole Library

For a decade between 1785 and 1795 George III and Queen Charlotte were the most prominent faces in Gillray’s satire, and the scandalous love lives of their children added piquancy to a print culture that was distinctly libertine in tone. But the license of printsellers provoked a backlash from the conservative wing of the establishment, especially after the French Revolution, and in late 1795 it became illegal to caricature the King. It is often claimed that caricaturists were immune to legal action, but some printsellers were punished and many prints were altered, suppressed or destroyed at this time. In this talk I shall discuss some of the liberties that caricaturists took and some of the penalties they came to face as they tested the extent of the freedom of the press – a burning issue then that remains highly relevant today.