Her name was George Paston

Samuel De Wilde (1751-1832), [Frontispiece to The Satirist, Vol. I.], 1807. Etching. Bound into George Paston, Social Caricature in the Eighteenth Century (London: Methuen & co. [1906]) Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize Rowlandson 943.3q Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, class of 1895

The British writer Emily Morse Symonds (1860-1936) published under the pen name George Paston, in the same spirit as George Sand and George Eliot. After a series of novels, culminating with A Writer of Books, Symonds turned to theory and criticism. Her first and best effort was this book on caricature. A review in a the Saturday Review of Books begins:

“Although a keen satirical tendency may be noticed in certain expressions of Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman art, it is significant rather of the class of ithyphallic drollery than that of the ironical grotesque… It remained for the English of the eighteenth century to invent the ironical grotesque… Paston’s book deals textually and pictorially with the various phases of social caricature and of the social groups which inspired the pens of the artists.”

Graphic Arts is fortunate to hold an extra-illustrated edition of Symonds’ book that includes 140 original prints in addition to the 200 reproductions printed within the text. Here are a few examples.

James Gillray (1756-1815), Breathing a vein, 1804. Etching.

Matthew Darly (ca.1720-1781 or later), Chloe’s cushion or the cork rump, 1777. Engraving.

Joshua Kirby Baldrey (1754-1828), H-st-gs ho, rare H-st-gs!, 1788. Etching. Hastings at wheelbarrow in which sit George III and Thurlow. “What a Man buys he may sell”

Charles Williams (1797-1830) after a design by George Moutard Woodward (1797-1830), Cure for a Smoky Chimney, 1808. Etching.

Joshua Kirby Baldrey (1754-1828), The Struggle, for a Bengal butcher and an imp-pie, 1788. Etching. Hastings holding a large pie; on the right are Thurlow and the Devil.

Gisbal’s Preferment; or the Importation of the Hebronites, 1762. Etching. “To suit the Times, and raise a Laugh … Arrive to Occupy their Place”

Artist unknown

Grown Gentlemen learning to skate, 1794. Engraving. Published by John Evans and Thomas Prattent, London. “Alas what various ills await / The booby who attempts to skate…”.