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John Kay

Birthplace: Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland, United Kingdom
Death: 1826
Immediate Family:

Son of ? nn Kay

Occupation: Scottish caricaturist and engraver.previously Barber surgeon
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Kay

John Kay (caricaturist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Kay (1742 – February 21, 1826) was a Scottish caricaturist and engraver.

He was born near Dalkeith, where his father was a mason. At thirteen he was apprenticed to a barber, whom he served for six years. He then went to Edinburgh, where in 1771 he obtained the freedom of the city by joining the corporation of barber-surgeons. In 1784 he published his first caricature, of Laird Robertson.[1] In 1785, induced by the favour which greeted certain attempts of his to etch in aquafortis, he took down his barber's pole and opened a small print shop in Parliament Close. There he continued to flourish, painting miniatures, and publishing at short intervals his sketches and caricatures of local celebrities and oddities, who abounded at that period in Edinburgh society.

Kay's portraits were collected by Hugh Paton and published under the title A series of original portraits and caricature etchings by the late John Kay, with biographical sketches and illustrative anecdotes (Edinburgh, 2 vols. 4to, 1838; 8vo ed., 4 vols., 1842; new 4to ed., with additional plates, 2 vols., 1877), forming a unique record of the social life and popular habits of Edinburgh at its most interesting epoch.

Kay's famous shop on the Royal Mile was destroyed during the Great Edinburgh Fire of November 1824.[2]

Some persons caricatured by Kay

  • Hugo Arnot
  • Joseph Black
  • Hugh Blair
  • Claud Irvine Boswell
  • John Brown
  • James Burnett, Lord Monboddo
  • Alexander Carlyle
  • James Donaldson
  • Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
  • Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville
  • Alexander Gerard
  • Alexander Gordon, Lord Rockville
  • Francis Grose
  • Henry Home, Lord Kames
  • James Hutton
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Vincenzo Lunardi
  • Sam McDonald
  • William Robertson
  • Sarah Siddons
  • Adam Smith
  • Peter Williamson (Indian Peter)
  • Alexander ("Lang Sandy") Wood


Jump up ^ Chambers, Robert (1874–1875). Thomas Thomson, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen. Glasgow: Blackie & Son. p. 415. Jump up ^ Grant's Old and New Edinburgh

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Kay (caricaturist). The complete two volumes of John Kay's Originals with searchable text and images and Volume 2 John Kay (Deutsche Biographie)

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John Kay's Timeline

Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland, United Kingdom