James Sayers
James Sayers (1748 - April 20, 1823) was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...


He was born at Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk, England. It is at the mouth of the River Yare, east of Norwich.It has been a seaside resort since 1760, and is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the sea...

, Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, the son of a merchant captain. He began as clerk in an attorney
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

's office, and was for a time a member of the borough council. In 1780 his father's death provided him with a small fortune, and he went to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. As a political caricaturist he supported William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

. His plate of "Carlo Khan's triumphal entry into Leadenhall Street
Leadenhall Street
Leadenhall Street is a street in the City of London, formerly part of the A11. It runs east from Cornhill to Aldgate, and west vice-versa. Aldgate Pump is at the junction with Aldgate...

" was admitted by Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

, against whom it was directed, to have damaged his public image. Sayer was always at his best when attacking Fox, whose strong features he portrayed with remarkable power, always so as to make them convey expressions of defiant impudence or anger. Pitt, not known as a patron of the arts, provided Sayer with a place as marshal of the Exchequer court. He died in Curzon Street, Mayfair.

Sayer's "Carlo Khan" has been frequently reproduced. But he can only be judged with confidence after examining the collection in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

, or other public libraries. His drawings, made originally with pencil on oil paper, were etched for him by the Brethertons. They were then sold in collections of the size of a large octavo copybook, under such titles as Illustrious Heads (1794) or Outlines of the Opposition (1795). Sayer left a complete gallery of small full-length pictures of the public men of his time, slightly caricatured. In his large plates he is inferior to James Gillray
James Gillray
James Gillray , was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810.- Early life :He was born in Chelsea...

, and he never has the grace of Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist.- Biography :Rowlandson was born in Old Jewry, in the City of London. He was the son of a tradesman or city merchant. On leaving school he became a student at the Royal Academy...

, but he was closer to the truth than either.
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