Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

Literature and Art. 
the peculiar characteriftics of the objects they wifhed to reprefent. Thefe 
were -the points which naturally attracted people's tirft attention, and 
the refernblance was felt mofl by people in general when thefe points 
were put forward in excefiive prominence in the picture. The dreffes, 
perhaps, hardly exiiied in the exact forms in which we fee them in the 
illuminations, or at leatt thofe were only exceptions to the generally 
more moderate forms; and hence, in ufing thefe pictorial records as 
materials for the hifiory of coftume, we ought to make a certain allowance 
for exaggeration---we ought, indeed, to treat them almolt as caricatures. 
In ea, much of what We now call caricature, was then characteriltic of 
ferious art, and of what was conftdered its high development. Many of 
the attempts which have been made of late years to introduce ancient 
cofturne on the Iiage, would probably be regarded by the people who 
lived in the age which they were intended to reprefent, as a mere defign 
to turn them into ridicule. Nevertheleis, the fafhions in drefs were, 
efpecially from the twelfth century to the iixteenth, carried to a great 
degree of extravagance, and were not only the objects of fatire and 
caricature, but drew forth the indignant declamations of the Church, and 
furnilhed a continuous theme to the preachers. The contemporary 
chronicles abound with bitter reflections on the extravagance in coftume, 
which was confidered as one of the outward {igns of the great corruption 
of particular periods; and they give us not unfrequent examples of the 
coarfe manner in which the clergy difcuffed them in their fermons. The 
readers of Chaucer will remember the manner in which this fubject is 
treated in the "Parfon's Tale." In this refpeet the iatirifts of the 
Church went hand in hand with the pictorial caricaturifts of the illumi- 
nated manufcripts, and of the fculptures with which we fometimes meet 
in contemporary architectural ornamentation. In the latter, this clafs 
of caricature is perhaps leis frequent, but it is fometimes very exprefiive. 
The very curious mifereres in the church of Ludlow, in Shropfhire,prefent 
the caricature reproduced in our cut No. 67. It reprefents an ugly, 
and, to judge by the exprefiion of the countenance, an ill-tempered old 
woman, wearing the fafhionable head-drefs of the earlier half of the 
fifteenth century, which feems to have been carried to its greateit 


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