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James Gillray Great South Sea Caterpillar Joseph Banks caricature etching

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Gillray - The Great South Sea Caterpillar - transform’d into a Bath Butterfly


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English 19th century caricature by James Gillray.


Originally published in 1795, this impression is from Henry Bohn's folio of Gillray's etchings - note the plate is numbered top right and the reverse also has another Gillray etching on it. The cartoon shows the metamorphosis of Sir Joseph Banks from a caterpillar to a butterfly upon his investiture with the Order of the Bath as a result of his South Sea expedition. Draped with the ribbon, and wearing the jewel, of Bath, he rises, chrysalis shaped, from the mudflats on butterfly wings emblazoned with sea creatures towards a radiant sun enclosing a crown.

Additional Information

artist James Gillray (1756-1815)
method Etching
date Etching, 1851 (originally 1795).
size 260mm by 365mm (platemark)
SKU AU8414