(I am very excited for this project that Adrian Teal is working on, and I’m hoping we can all rally behind him in support of this book. There are some wonderful benefits for supporting. Please consider helping this book come alive and showing appreciation for those keeping the 18th century alive. I asked him to explain the project, so I hope you enjoy! - Heather)
The Whig politician, Charles James Fox, is the 18th century in human form, to my way of thinking. Lauded for his ‘talent for friendship’, he was a fat, unshaven, scruffy womaniser, who was descended directly from the party animal King Charles II, and lived life on his own terms. He was a ‘man of sensibility’, who cried openly in Parliament when friends felt compelled to speak against him, and who married a courtesan in secret, devoting his declining years to tending their garden, and making her happy.
Fox was also an heroic drinker and compulsive gambler, infamous for all-night sessions. On one notorious occasion in 1772, he played Hazard non-stop from Tuesday through to Wednesday night, during which time he won, lost, and recovered £12,000, and finally lost £11,000. He paused briefly on Thursday to debate in the House of Commons, then returned to his club, drank until Friday morning, walked to Almack’s to gamble until 4pm, winning £6,000, then rode to Newmarket and blew £10,000 on the gee-gees. The Georgians – I think we can agree - make today’s celebs look like teetotal milksops.
My mission is to recapture some of the spirit of this gloriously dissipated, bawdy, and star-studded epoch, and I’m writing a crowd-funded book for Unbound called The GIN LANE GAZETTE. It will be a compendium of illustrated highlights from a fictional newspaper of the 1700s: a kind of scurrilous Georgian tabloid. It will contain some of the most sensational headlines and true stories of my chosen period (1750-1800), generated by many familiar figures from history. The presses are presided over by Mr. Nathaniel Crowquill, the editor and proprietor, whose premises are located in Hogarth’s chaotic Gin Lane, and who has devoted fifty years to rooting out scandal and oddities with which to titillate his readership. The rascally Mr. Isaac Jakes supplies merciless caricatures and engravings, which disport themselves across every page. Sports reports, obituaries, fashion news, courtesans of the month, and advertisements for bizarre Georgian goods and services will also feature in this exuberant assemblage of muck and fun. I want to give readers an authentic flavour of the debauchery, bravery, villainy, inventiveness, and eccentricity which characterize the 18th century. Virtual Georgian reality, in book form, is my aim.
Unbound has published works by Monty Python legend, Terry Jones, and a host of others, including Tibor Fischer and Kate Mosse, and I’m honoured to be joining their ranks. I have spent sixteen years producing cartoons for clients such as The Sunday Telegraph and History Today, and hope to combine my experience in journalistic caricature with my love of history in a unique and evocative way. I entreat you to read my pitch, watch my video, and pledge if you like what you see…