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  • Thomas Rowlandson A French Dentist Shewing a Specimen of his Artificial Teeth and False Palates 1811
    Thomas Rowlandson
    A French Dentist Shewing a Specimen of his Artificial Teeth and False Palates 1811
  • Philip Dawe A new fashiond head dress for the young misses of three score and ten 1777 a woman being fitted with an enormous feathered head dress
    Philip Dawe
    A new fashion'd head dress for the young misses of three score and ten 1777
  • William Hogarth A Rakes Progress plate 6, 1735
    William Hogarth, partly assisted by Gérard Jean-Baptiste Scotin
    A Rake's Progress. plate 6 1735
  • William Hogarth, 'O the Roast Beef of Old England ('The Gate of Calais')' 1748
    William Hogarth
    O the Roast Beef of Old England ('The Gate of Calais') 1748
    Oil on canvas
    support: 788 x 945 mm
    frame: 1072 x 1228 x 105 mm
    Presented by the Duke of Westminster 1895
  • George Cruikshank Inconveniences of a Crowded Drawing Room 1818 a picture of a room full of people squashed up against each other
    George Cruikshank
    Inconveniences of a Crowded Drawing Room 1818
  • Thomas Rowlandson Distillers looking into their own business 1811 image of three men looking in to a beer barrell
    Thomas Rowlandson
    Distillers looking into their own business 1811

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth century is often considered as a Golden Age of social satire. Following the model set by William Hogarth, artists lampooned the greed, self-delusion and depravity which seemed to characterise modern consumer society.

From the 1770s consumer society itself expanded enormously, fuelled by industrialisation and Britain’s growing empire. This created new commercial opportunities for comic artists, while consumerism, with its fast-moving fashions and fads, proved ripe for ever-more grotesque satire.

Social satire became tamer and less gross in the nineteenth century, but the robust style of Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank was renewed in more recent comic-book art. The British adult comic Viz is acting as our host for this space, with their character Roger Mellie (‘The Man on the Telly’) presenting each of the pictures.