Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group: 30 November 17

Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group:

Reading Group, led by Emma Dowley, ‘Propaganda and Satire during the Jacobite Rebellion of ’45’

12-2pm, Thursday 30 November

Room 317, 43 Gordon Square

The last Jacobite rebellion of 1745/6 saw Charles Edward Stuart attempt to overthrow George II on behalf of his father, James. The growing market appetite for printed imagery that the rebellion spawned was consistent with a pattern set during times of political turbulence, reaching back to the Exclusion Crisis of the seventeenth century, but the volume of the output in 1745 and 1746 was unprecedented. The prints that are the subject of my thesis addressed the broader political and religious debates that were the principal causes of the division between the supporters of the house of Hanover and the exiled line of the Stuart dynasty. They attempted to paint as damaging a picture as possible of the Jacobites, France and the Catholic Church (the latter two presumed to be backing the rising), the ideological underpinning of Charles Edward’s mission and the potential consequences if he eventually succeeded. There is no evidence that the prints were part of a government orchestrated propaganda campaign, but Herbert Atherton has stated that, ‘their effect, taken in the context of the contemporary moment, may have given them the value of propaganda, especially when the tempo of polemic quickened’, as it did in 1745.

During the reading group session, I am interested in exploring to what extent these prints may be considered as propaganda, even if they were not officially sponsored. The preparatory ‘reading’ is the following three images:

The Invasion, or Perkin’s Triumph:

The Highland Visitors:

The Fate of Rebellion:

Emma Dowley is a PhD student in History of Art at Birkbeck, working on anti-jacobite imagery in the eighteenth century.