An illustration of a woman on a teeter-totter surrounded by men

Thomas Rowlandson, British (1756 – 1827), The Poll, c. 1784, Impression I, etching with hand coloring, 11 ½ x 13 ¾ inches plate. Image courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

A print of an obese women looking forlorn

Attributed to James Gillray, British (1756 – 1815), Parody of Emma Hamilton Performing an Attitude, Plate 4, from A New Edition Considerably Enlarged of Attitudes Faithfully copied from Nature, 1807, etching, 10 x 7 ¾ inches sheet. Image courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

An illustration of three men fighting

James Gillray, British (1756 – 1815), Sin, Death, and the Devil: Vide Milton, 1792, etching with hand coloring, 12 ½ x 16 inches plate. Image courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women

February 2 - June 24, 2017

Raucous physical humor and over-the-top visual comedy are foregrounded in this exhibition of British caricatures and satires made in the late 1700s. Bawdy humor was frequently deployed in popular images to deprecate the political follies and social foibles of royals, politicians, entertainers and men and women of fashion. This form of humor was especially cutting when used to critique the behavior of accomplished women whose growing prominence and engagement in the public sphere elicited the criticism of commentators and drew the attention of graphic satirists. Featuring a selection of prints from Yale University’s Lewis Walpole Library, Bawdy Bodies offers a view into the manners of an era over two hundred years ago, revealing parallels between the eighteenth-century and today.   

This exhibition was co-curated by Cynthia Roman, curator of prints, drawings and paintings, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University Libraries and Hope Saska, curator of collections and exhibitions, CU Art Museum. This traveling exhibition is courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library.

This exhibition is generously supported by CU-Boulder Student Arts and Cultural Enrichment fees, and CU Art Museum members.

Read an interview with our curator Hope Saska previewing the exhibition here:

View images of the exhibition installation here.