The Birth of Cartoons

The Birth of Cartoons

Historical cartoon enthusiast, Ian Keable, visited College this afternoon to give students a brief history of the birth of cartoons, particularly 18th century satirical prints and their unique merging of history, politics and art.

Ian showed a number of culturally significant cartoons that have retained their hilarity, however there was also a serious purpose to the lecture: to trace the importance of satirical prints, from the 1720s onwards, in a period before illustrations began to appear in books and journals.
He also noted the change in cartoons in the early 19th century, which is attributed to the moralistic view the Victorians held, and a change in technology that meant cartoons could be printed alongside news, in books and journals. This often meant that the cartoon became smaller and less detailed than the large prints that were produced before, and text was introduced to make the joke rather than the clever artwork that had been produced previously.

This is a world before moving pictures and photography; satirical print was both the news and Have I got News for You rolled into one.

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