A Life in Caricature
- ISBN 9780500251409
- 25.00 x 24.90 cm
- 194 Illustrations, 194 in colour
- First published 2007
‘A wonderful gathering of images from the bestial to the downright brutal, which shows 18th-century cartooning its savage best’ – The Independent
‘Colourful, irreverent, frequently scatological … a handsome alternative to a conventional biography’ – The Daily Telegraph
Was George III ‘bad’ as well as ‘mad’? Here we can see George III as his contemporaries saw him.
George ruled through the golden age of English caricature.
He suffered at the hands of the genius of Gillray; the robustness of Rowlandson; and the skilful darts of Cruikshank. Caricaturists were the paparazzi of the day, capturing the celebrities – the King and Queen and the politicians.
George sacked five Prime Ministers; interfered endlessly; and was in part responsible for the loss of the American colonies. The Whig leader, Charles James Fox, called him ‘Satan’. Yet after the French Revolution George became a much-loved figure: a bastion against anarchy, terror and mob-rule; the father figure of the nation, who stood up to Napoleon. Never was ‘God Save the King’ sung with such fervour.
This book presents all of George’s complex character: as ‘Farmer George’ carrying pails around his farms and selling milk to eke out his finances; as a father let down by his sons, who became debauched womanisers, gamblers and spendthrifts; as a cultural patron, founder of the Royal Academy of Arts; and as a sick man, suffering from recurrent attacks of madness.
Many of these amusing and irreverent images have not been published before and provide new insight into the story of one of the nation’s most well known but least understood monarchs.
Kenneth Baker entered the House of Commons in 1968, and in his long political career served in the Cabinet as Environment Secretary, Education Secretary, Chairman of the Conservative Party and Home Secretary. He now sits in the House of Lords. Lord Baker is the author of a number of books, including various anthologies of poetry, his memoirs of life under Mrs Thatcher, The Turbulent Years, and George IV: A Life in Caricature.