C1801

The Union Club.

Artist:

James Gillray (1756 - 1815)

Scarce satirical etching by James Gillray after the long-awaited implementation of the Acts of Union which brought England and Ireland together as the United Kingdom, and more specifically the opening of the Union Club (on January 19th) that was intended … Read Full Description

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S/N: SATI-TUC-1801–232111
(C120)
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Details

Full Title:

The Union Club.

Date:

C1801

Artist:

James Gillray (1756 - 1815)

Condition:

Lower sheet edge trimmed close to publication line, folded at some point, otherwise in good condition.

Technique:

Etching with original hand colouring.

Image Size: 

390mm 
x 273mm
AUTHENTICITY
The Union Club. - Antique Print from 1801

Genuine antique
dated:

1801

Description:

Scarce satirical etching by James Gillray after the long-awaited implementation of the Acts of Union which brought England and Ireland together as the United Kingdom, and more specifically the opening of the Union Club (on January 19th) that was intended to foster common interests between the countries.

Gillray’s was one of four prints celebrating the occasion. Two of them were published a couple of weeks after Gillray’s: one by Isaac Cruikshank (The Breaking Up of the Union Club (Feb. 8, 1801) and another The Union Club, possibly by Charles Williams, published by S.W. Fores on the same day. Both borrow figures and elements that clearly derive from Gillray’s version. A third print, though undated and anonymous, probably preceded Gillray’s effort, according to Draper Hill. It includes the same toast to the Union, and portrays eight of the same figures who appear in Gillray’s print, but differs from it in style, tone, and even orientation.

This scene of drunken debauchery was a response to a formal print published to celebrate the first meeting of the Union Club, founded after England and Ireland were united in 1800. In the original illustration of the grand inaugural dinner, the Prince of Wales presided over a convivial scene seated on an elaborate throne. Gillray’s version highlights the contentious nature of the Union by showing the Prince lying drunk under the table. Above him, the opposition leader Charles James Fox is collapsed in a chair, his feet propped on the table. All those not incapacitated or fighting drink a toast to the Union. Prominent among them are the Irish MP Lord Moira in a green jacket and Lord Cholmondely who raises his hat. The well-known fop Sir Lumley St George Skeffington dances in tipsily from the far left on the arm of an Irish friend.

Reference: National Portrait Gallery

Biography:

James Gillray (1756-1815)

James Gillray was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires. Gillray regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists, the other being William Hogarth, Gillray’s wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, and beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists.

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