Cartoons & Caricatures of the Bank of England

Cartoons & Caricatures of the Bank of England

The Bank of England has been in the media spotlight recently with the arrival of the new Governor, the Canadian Mark Carney, on 1 July. His appointment also coincides with the opening of a temporary exhibition at the Bank of England Museum, celebrating over two centuries of satirical cartoons and caricatures of the venerable institution.

Some of the pieces on show date back to the golden age of caricatures, at the end of the 18th century, including James Gillray’s famous engraving (1757-1815) "Political Ravishment, or The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in Danger!" The work was a sharp attack on the Prime Minister of the time, William Pitt the Younger, and his perceived misuse of political power to gain access to the Bank’s reserves. It has since become an emblem of the often tense economic and institutional relations between governments and their national central bank. It also gave birth to the phrase "the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street", which was to become, and remains, a popular nickname for the Bank of England.

The exhibition also includes works from modern satirists such as Steve Bell, Andy Davey and Chris Duggan.

Together, the collection provides a lively and humorous insight into how a central bank became part of a nation’s political and economic history.

To find out more, click on Bank of England Museum

Note: on 21 and 22 September, The Bank of England and Museum will be open to visitors during Open Houses London Weekend.


“Political Ravishment, or The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in Danger” (1797). James Gillray (1756 - 1815)
Source: Wikimedia Commons






Published on 5 September 2013.