Caricature John Kay Edinburgh "Dr. James Hamilton, Senior” Antique etching
Aquatint etching by John Kay for “Kay's Edinburgh Portraits”
Published Edinburgh 1797
A small etching of a proud, well-dressed portly gentleman of Edinburgh. In confident mid-stride, he is wearing the fashionable gentleman's dark dress-coat, cocked hat, powdered wig, frilled shirt/cuffs, and silver buckled shoes.
John Kay (1742-1826) was an apprenticed barber at 13, in 1771 managed to obtained the freedom to the city of Edinburgh when he joined the corporation of the barber-surgeons. In 1784 he published his first caricature and in the following year he opened a small print shop in the Royal Mile. He flourished with his sketches, and eventually published caricatures of local characters and odd folk that emerged from the Scottish Age of Enlightenment.
“Dr Hamilton was for many years one of the ornaments of Edinburgh…At an early age he was elected one of the Physicians of the Royal Infirmary…for upwards of fifty years he continued to actively superintend these benevolent institutions…(gave) the world his well-known work, entitled “Observations on the Utility and Administration of Purgative Medicine in several Diseases”- one of the most elegant works which has ever issued from the press…”. On Further research it appears the Drs. Hamilton, Senior and Junior taught midwifery at the University of Edinburgh, was criticized by another Kay Caricature dedication, Dr. James Gregory, M.D. A consequence was counter-proceeding by Hamilton against Gregory for the lies deemed injurious to his reputation. This may have been reason enough to be chosen as a topic for caricature.
Condition = Excellent. Printed on Flax/hemp wove paper. The slight corrugation is due to the paper being dampened, at the time of printing, to help stretch the paper over the copper plate, and facilitate the uptake of ink in the etched grooves.
Size of paper =19.6cm x 25.8cm ( 7 2/3x 10 1/3 inch ) / Plate-mark = 5cm x 8.2cm ( 2 x 3 1/4 inch)
Certificate of authenticity supplied.