Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Heath Caricature Military

William Heath.

Military Dandies or Heroes of 1819.

14.5 x 10.5 inches

An etching in vibrant original hand colour, engraved by William Heath and published by Le Petit in Dublin in 1819.

This amusing image acts as both a caricature and a useful military reference. At a time when Britain had been almost continuously at war for decades with the French, the Spanish, the Dutch and almost everybody else, the military had achieved rockstar status. As such they often had egos to match and when not fighting for king and country would be seen parading, preening and posturing about town. What Heath does so successfully in this print is exaggerate both their physicality and the cut of their gib so we see them not as military heroes but as figures of fun. The waists are made to be ridiculously slender, the shoulders broad and the buttocks enlarged. These men are the peacocks of Regency society, competing with the Dandies to be the most visible popinjay about town.

William Heath (1794-1840) was a successful illustrator, painter and caricaturist. He started his career in serious military work but soon got side-tracked into satire so this caricature represents his transition from one genre to the other.


Back to Catalogue