Radical visual culture
From caricature to portraiture
in Politics personified
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This chapter shows how important visual culture and portraiture in particular was, not only to Chartism, but to other radical movements. Although the torrent of pro-reform prints published between 1830 and 1832 is usually regarded as the last outpouring of the single-sheet caricature tradition, a radical brand of caricature flourished in the 1830s, much of it produced by Charles Jameson Grant. The most important reason for the waning of radical caricature was the advantages offered to radicals by portraiture, which was valued for its ability to project a positive image and identity. Portraits allowed a positive projection of individuals and through them political movements. Although portraiture and caricature are opposites in theory, in practice the gap between the two diminished in this period as politicians were more 'realistically' and respectfully portrayed in political cartoons and other visual media.

Politics personified

Portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, c. 1830–80


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