, , ,

The Weekly Entertainer (4 March 1816) published the following criticism


The Parisians have affected to imitate the English taste for caricatures.  It is true, they do not abound in wit;  and humour is a quality utterly unknown among them;  their artists have both to seek;  or rather, it is not their national disposition, or turn of mind.  However, they have hit on a title, and hazarded the publication of a work, that might be made somewhat more than amusing and laughable, by shewing vice and folly their own images, and holding the mirror up to nature – “Annals of Ridicule, or Parisian Scenes and Caricatures”.  Several numbers are already published, each containing two coloured prints.  A number is published every fortnight.  By this rapidity of publication, the work will soon degenerate into mere inspidity and buffoonery;  exaggeration will take place of what might be truth;  the public will be disgusted, and the work will expire.”

“Annales du ridicule, ou parisien scènes et caricatures” was produced by Edouard Hocquart in 1815.

The critic does believe that French caricatures had improved but were hardly the quality of Gilray or Rowlandson who blended humour and satire successfully.  By contrast the French offerings were “devoid of all general interest [and were] poor in allusions”.

It seems that few caricatures appeared in the early years of the Nineteenth Century (which is perhaps not very surprising) but those that did were mainly caricatures “against the English” – few were “against the Prussians”.  This was put down to the fact that the English were more good natured and magnanimous!

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any of these caricatures so it seems as though the critic.