SAYERS, James (1748-1823, caricaturist). Folio album of 144 caricatures mounted on 87 sheets, most etched, a few aquatint, various sizes, dated 1782-1810. One pen-and-ink drawing and 5 hand-coloured plates loosely inserted. Contemporary half calf (rubbed). Provenance: James Sayers, thence to the artist's sister, and presented by her to Chancellor Eldon (Eldon's inscription on pastedown noting: 'The collection of caricatures was presented to me by the sister of Mr. Sayers, the author of them, soon after the death of her brother' (inscription on front blank, dated 16 October 1829, signed 'Eldon'; the caricatures numbered and some subjects identified in pencil).
An unfinished manuscript notebook, 4° (226 x 185mm), containing Lord Eldon's comments on the first 38 caricatures in the above album, and an introductory paragraph dated Encombe 16 October 1829, which describes how the album came to him, and stresses the value of Sayers' work to Pitt's administration (in which Lord Eldon himself was such a key figure). Contemporary straight-grained burgundy morocco gilt with clasp.
THE ARTIST'S OWN COPIES OF HIS CARICATURES. Whereas most caricaturists sided with the opposition, Sayers was, as Eldon writes, 'strongly attached to Mr. Pitt'. ODNB records that 'his most effective blows were struck against the Fox-North coalition: in November 1783, five days after the publication of Fox's India Bill, he produced "A Transfer of India Stock", showing Fox making off with India House and all the patronage of India. His most famous print followed on 5 December: "Carlo Khan's Triumphal Entry into Leadenhall Street" showed Fox as an Indian potentate mounted on an elephant with the face of Lord North, being led by Burke to India House'. M.D. George places the latter among the most influential political caricatures ever published (English Political Caricature, 1959, p. 169). Both prints are illustrated above and the album contains many others of great metaphorical richness. In his notebook Lord Eldon identifies the subjects and provides short biographies. (2)