2 [Gillray, James-- Noted 1795 FIrst Printing, Caricature on Banks] The Great South Sea Caterpillar, Transform'd into a Bath Butterfly. Joseph Banks, James Gillray.

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2 [Gillray, James-- Noted 1795 FIrst Printing, Caricature on Banks] The Great South Sea Caterpillar, Transform'd into a Bath Butterfly

London: H. Humphrey No. 37 New Bond Street, July 4th 1795.

First Printing. Paper size: 10 1/4 x 15 inches, image size 9 3/8 x 12 1/7. Superb full-size etching satirical cartoon by James Gillray entitled THE GREAT SOUTH SEA CATERPILLAR, TRANSFORM'D INTO A BATH BUTTERFLY. This noted etching by Gillray, dubbed the "father of the political cartoon, was a satirical cartoon spoofing the social elevation of Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook on his voyages. Banks' head is replaced onto a butterfly arising out of the mud near the seashore, gazing upwards towards the Crown, depicted as the center of the sun. The "Order of Bath" is pinned to his coat, the medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements-- Gillray here compares Joseph Banks' rapid ascension into the social ranks to an insect which first "crawl'd into notice from among the Weeds & Mud on the Banks of the South Sea; & being afterwards placed in a Warm Situation by the Royal Society..." as per the description below the image. This copy uncolored, but an early impression of the first printing, with no printing on the verso. Margin from the right side added to the left side, losing the impression mark from the left side. 9 5/8 x 14" Manuscript contemporary inscription at very lower right: "Caricature on Ban[ks], with "ks" beyond the cut line. Very good overall. Rex Nan Kivell Collection NK1603; Libraries Australia ID 6589578. Exhibited: "Inked: Australian Cartoons", National Library of Australia, March - August 2019; exhibited: 'Cook & Omai: The Cult of the South Seas', NLA 2001; hand coloured copy U7220 exhibited: Australian National Gallery opening exhibition, 1982; British Museum Catalogue, 8718.

Price: $2,750.00   Item #5082

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