A Decidedly British Approach to Humor

The painter, social critic, and editorial cartoonist William Hogarth (1697–1764) set the standard for modern English satire. He saw caricatures imported from the Continent and argued for the creation of a distinctly British approach to social satire—one based on observing Londoners going about their daily lives. Soon caricature drawing became … Continue reading

Dazzling in the Midst of War

What do avant-garde art and Britain’s Royal Navy have in common? The answer is Edward Wadsworth (1889–1949), a British artist whose work is currently part of The Huntington’s “Between Modernism and Tradition: British Works on Paper, 1914–1948” exhibition, on view in the Huntington Art Gallery through Sept. 21, 2015. Wadsworth … Continue reading

Weird, Wild & Wonderful

The botanical world is full of surprises, as any of the thousands of people who’ve visited the Amorphophallus titanum in bloom might tell you. Wild sizes, outrageous colors, complex patterns, otherworldly shapes—all a result of the remarkable adaptations plants make in response to habitat, in defense against predators, and in … Continue reading

Lincoln’s Signature Accomplishments

One hundred and fifty years ago, on Jan. 31, 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, a resolution ending slavery. The framers of the Constitution had forged a nation built on the rights of its citizens, but one that accommodated the peculiar institution of … Continue reading

A Satirical Look at Georgian Society

Today’s pop culture often goes overboard by invading personal privacy in the search for entertainment. Britain’s Georgian era (roughly 1714 to 1830) was a similarly nosy time—gossiping and people watching were especially popular pastimes, as were reading biography and looking at portraiture. Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), one of Britain’s premier draftsmen, … Continue reading