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.