HB Oakland


“This is not the Baron of Oakland, in the Opera of the Haunted Tower.” 1 July 1831. George, 16719.

Brougham resigned as Lord Chancellor because he felt that his dignity had been violated. This picture compares him to a theatrical character from James Cobb’s ballad opera, Baron of Oakland. The “baron” in the play was a clumsy ploughman who constantly asked others to consider his dignity. Satire lithographed and designed by John Doyle (1797-1867). Folio. Thomas McLean, 1829-49. From his series Political Sketches. Each with a blind stamp indicating that it is a “subscriber’s copy.”

SKU: 30-1318 Categories: ,


By writing his initials twice-over, John Doyle manipulated the letters to create the pseudonym signature “HB”. Born in Catholic Dublin, HB arrived in London in 1821, after the death of James Gillray. Thomas Rowlandson had aged, as well, and with him the era of biting, pointed caricature in London. As HB began his career, he introduced a gentler sort of satire, making soft jokes calculated to avoid strong offence. Rather than exaggerating physical features and pushing the bawdy laugh, Doyle employed reasonable likenesses with circumstantial humor. Even the subtle, sketchy appearance of his lithography marked a change from the loose, brash lines of colored etchings, a medium that had dominated caricature printing for the previous half-century.