HB Wigs


“The Rival Wigs.” 28 June 1831. George, 16717.

Upon the opening of Parliament on 21 June 1831 the youthful Lord Ellenborough corrected Lord Chancellor Brougham twice on points of order. Since this action was seen as a split in the Whig ranks, the two men are depicted regarding each other with suspicion. 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: 30-1317 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.