In her first commission for Icon Books, Clare Bullock has bought Scoundrels by historian and "History Hit" TikTok account launcher, Alice Loxton.
Subtitled Scandal and Satire in Georgian London, the book will tell the story of the satirical printmakers of the 1790s and 1800s. Led by James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, Isaac Cruikshank, it will show how, from the dimly lit taverns, drenched in alcohol, coffee and the stench of Georgian London, the young British artists of their era produced some of the most impactful, creative output Britain has ever seen. Icon will publish in spring 2023.
Loxton shows how this network also captured and articulated British humour, setting the precedent for how we laugh today. Their legacy led to the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, to "The Two Ronnies", to "Spitting Image" and Private Eye. Loxton is a presenter for "Dan Snow’s History Hit" and writes, edits and produces documentaries for the History Hit TV channel. This is her debut book.
She said: "I’m thrilled to be working with Icon Books to bring the scoundrels of the golden age of British satire back into the limelight. The likes of James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson are some of the most innovative, witty creatives in British history. They could change the world in an image, and in many ways we are still the children of Gillray. I'm delighted to have Clare and the team at Icon working with me to uncover the best jokes in Georgian Britain."
Commissioning editor Clare Bullock bought UK and Commonwealth rights (and exclusive EU) from Caroline Hardman at Hardman & Swainson. Bullock added: "As we have discovered over the past few years, times of political upheaval offer ample opportunities for humour. In Scoundrels, Alice Loxton shows us that this great tradition of British satire is rooted in the period when Gillray and his gang reappraised power with a razor-sharp wit and irreverence. Alice’s writing fizzes with energy, and she brings the period to life in a fresh and vivid light. I’m so excited to be working with such a bright young talent on a book that will be an essential read for those who look to humour to get them through challenging times."