Volkswagen Fellowship Symposium 2014: “The agreeable contrast” – British caricatures of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion

Monika Barget, University of Konstanz:

Political caricatures are a highly controversial and revealing genre of early modern art. Both the Reformation and the mid-17th-century crisis were heydays of acrimonious printed satire, and the Jacobite rebellions of the 18th century equally inspired derisive graphical representations. Especially the dazzling image of young ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ and his untamed Highland army evoked the artists’ wholehearted partisanship or contempt.

This is why many broadside satires of the 1745 rebellion focus on a direct juxtaposition of Charles Edward Stuart and his major opponent, the Duke of Cumberland. Personal traits of character as well as physical appearance and symbols of national identity are the most important elements of post-1745 caricatures, defining a persistent framework for British political caricatures.

Please click on the pictures below to see high resolution details and further descriptions. All caricatures were published by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The agreeable Contrast_Bonnie Prince Charlie and Duke of Cumberland_Jacobite Prints_Scottish National Archives

“The agreeable contrast”, Jacobite Prints and Broadsides, Walter Biggar Blaikie Collection, © 2012 National Library of Scotland

Don Carlos

Agreeable Contrast between the formidable John of Grant and Don Carlos of Southern Extraction, Jacobite Prints and Broadsides, Walter Biggar Blaikie Collection, © 2012 National Library of Scotland

Britannia sitting between Prince Charles and Cumberland weighing Mercy and Butchery_pro-Jacobite propaganda_Jacobite Prints Online

“Britannia weighing mercy and butchery”, Jacobite Prints and Broadsides, Walter Biggar Blaikie Collection, © 2012 National Library of Scotland

During her studies in Augsburg (Germany) and Galway (Ireland), Monika Barget has specialized in early modern constitutional history and the history of religious thought in Western Europe. After her graduation in 2008, she chose to work as a public relations assistant and radio editor in order to acquire professional skills. She has held a permanent position with a German radio station until May 2013. In summer 2013, she applied to Dr. Malte Griesse and was subsequently accepted as a PhD candidate in Konstanz. Together with Dr. Griesse, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and her Dutch colleague David de Boer, she is currently doing research at Harvard University. In her PhD project within the ‘Centre of Excellence’ at the University of Konstanz, she concentrates on political narratives of ‘rebellion’ and ‘revolution’ in 18th century Britain and Ireland. Her aim is to analyze how these narratives were constructed, spread and commemorated in the different strata of society, and how the flourishing enlightenment historiography as well as international accounts contributed to British perceptions of necessary reform in contrast to ‘unnatural’, ‘radical’ change.

VW Visualizing Revolt WEB

Obwohl man Karikaturen – oder treffender: Bildsatiren – des 18. Jahrhunderts auf keinen Fall als ‚Unterschichtenphänomen‘ missverstehen darf, ist dieses Genre in besonderer Weise ein Kondensator für widerstreitende Meinungen und Konfliktpotentiale gewesen. Die besondere Verbindung von Text und Bild macht deutlich, welche Schlagworte den politischen Diskurs der Zeit prägten. Vor allen Dingen aber kommt in der Entwicklung der Karikaturen zum Ausdruck, dass Revoltenereignisse eine politische Vertrauenskrise bedeuteten und negative Stereotype gegenüber einzelnen Personen oder gesellschaftlichen Gruppen zementierten. So haben etwa die Darstellungen der schottischen Armee Charles Edward Stuarts das englische Bild vom rohen, instinktgeleiteten ‚Highlander‘ geformt, das unmittelbar auf spätere schottische Politiker wie John Stuart, Earl of Bute, übertragen wurde (vgl. u.a. das Satiremagazin „The British antidote to the Caledonian poison“, Vol. 1 und 2). Eine umfangreiche Sammlung pro- und anti-jakobitischer Satiredrucke ist auf der Homepage der National Library of Scotland (Walter Biggar Blaikie Collection) verfügbar. Erklärungen zu einer Vielzahl weit verbreiteter Karikaturen und Transkriptionen der nur schwer leserlichen Sprechblasen bietet der „British Museum Catalogue of political and personal satires“ (kostenloses E-Book).


a) Jacobite prints and broadsides (National Library of Scotland): ONLINE COLLECTION
b) Frederic George Stephens / Mary Dorothy George u.a. (hg.): Catalogue of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I: Political and personal satires (Department of Prints and Drawings), London 1870-1954 (E-Book)


a) Mary Dorothy George: English political caricature: a study of opinion and propaganda, Oxford (Clarendon Press) 1959.
b) Eirwen E. C. Nicholson: English political prints and pictorial political argument c.1640-c.1832: a study in historiography and methodology, Edinburgh 1994.
c) Diana Donald: The age of caricature: satirical prints in the reign of George III, New Haven (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press) 1996.

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2 Responses

  1. R says:

    Hi there, do you have a transcript Monika Barget’s audio presentation? Many thanks

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