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Isaac Cruikshank and the notion of British liberty, 1783-1811

Baker, James (2011) Isaac Cruikshank and the notion of British liberty, 1783-1811. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86449) (KAR id:86449)


This is a history of communication, specifically those communications found in past (imagined) communities which augmented, shaped and renegotiated shared culture. This culture, perceptible during the late Georgian era in public forms such as books, pamphlets, prints, performance, architecture, paintings and a wide range of ephemeral material, positions itself inextricably within the visual imagination. This then is also a history of visual communicative cultures, of the various shapes and forms that occupied the ocular registers of past peoples. Graphic satire was one of these contemporary visual forms and it is therefore a task of this thesis to place this printed single-sheet medium within the lives and cultural perception of late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Britons; specifically, due to where these satires were published, Londoners. Like all historical sources, graphic satires present specific challenges. They were publicly facing compositions designed to shock and provoke; outwardly packed with sex, titillation, violence and prurient curiosity, framed by lewd, deliciously vicious and bawdy narratives, and set against the dirt and grime of London's streets. Hence satirical prints were as much an aspect of rude culture as visual culture, yet this does not mean they had nothing serious or important to say. Indeed one of the major thematic agendas of graphic satire in this period concerned notions of British liberty. It is therefore the central task of this thesis to unpick how and why this medium represented libertarian values in the way it did.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86449
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: cartoons; Isaac Cruikshank
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Visual Arts > NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:51 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 14:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Baker, James.

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