James Gillray (August 13, 1757- June 1, 1815), commonly consider the 'Father of the Political Cartoon' was a British printmaker, engraver, caricaturist, and satirical cartographer active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Gillray was born in Chelsea, London and trained as a letter-engraver, an occupation at which he had considerable skill but little interest. Instead he took to spending his time with itinerant theater troops – a pastime that no doubt influenced his later work. After returning to London he was admitted to the Royal Academy. From this point on Gillray was supported primarily through his etchings, most of which were published by Miss Hannah Humphrey. Although Gillray and Humphrey lived together for many years, they curiously never married. The main corpus of his influential work was published between 1792 and 1810. His popular caricatures, of which there are between 1000 and 1700, typically took the form of political satire. In late middle age Gillray's eyesight began to deteriorate due to alcoholism. It is also said that, while working on his last plate, Interior of a Barber's Shop in Assize Time he descended into insanity, although the nature of his supposed 'madness' is unclear. Nonetheless, after this piece, dated 1811, he produced no further work. He died in 1815 shortly before the Battle of Waterloo. Much of Gillray's work was profane in nature and suppressed, until reissued in 1851 by George Bohn.

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