John Kay, 1742 - 1826. Caricaturist (Self-portrait)

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John Kay, 1742 - 1826. Caricaturist (Self-portrait) about 1786


  • Scottish Art
John Kay began his career as a barber-surgeon before turning his hand to producing etched caricatures of his contemporaries. This self-taught artist's prolific output created an unmatched record of the citizens of Scotland's capital. Kay's simple, often humorous, portrayals provide a satirical commentary on Edinburgh society for which he was sometimes threatened with legal action. They offer a telling comparison to the grander images painted by established portrait painters. Kay sold his prints and miniature paintings from a shop at 10 Parliament Close. Within twelve years of his death his caricatures were published in a two-volume book, 'A series of original portraits and caricature etchings by the late John Kay', with a second edition following four years later.


  • Acc. No. PG 892
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 26.00 x 20.60 cm (framed: 36.00 x 39.00 x 5.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1918