‘Scientific Researches! – New Discoveries in Pneumaticks!’ by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey, London, Coloured Etching, 1802. Inv. 11539
This print combines the new artistic mode of caricaturing with the new subject of pneumatics (or the study of gases). James Gillray mastered a range of techniques, including etching, stippling, engraving and aquatint, while training at the Royal Academy under the famous engraver Bartolozzi. Gillray’s development of own unique style of caricature drew on that of his favourite artist, Rubens. From 1791, Gillray lodged and worked exclusively with the printer Hannah Humphrey at her shop in Bond Street in London. This acidic commentary on London society was typical of Gillray’s work. The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 to provide public lectures on science to a broader audience beyond the upper classes. For this it was often ridiculed.