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SAYER (or SAYERS), JAMES (1748-1823), English caricaturist, was a native of Yarmouth, and son of a merchant captain. He began as clerk in an attorney's office, and was for a time a member of the borough council. In 1780 the death of his father put him in possession of a small fortune, and he came to London. As a political caricaturist he was a supporter of William Pitt. His plate of " Carlo Khan's triumphal entry into Leadenhall Street " was allowed by C. J. Fox, against whom it was directed, to have damaged him severely in public opinion. Indeed Sayer was always at his best when attacking Fox, whose strongly marked features he rendered with remarkable power, and always so as to make them convey expressions of defiant impudence or of anger. Pitt, who showed no wish to help literature or art in any other case, provided Sayer with a place as marshal of the Exchequer court. He died in Curzon Street, Mayfair, on the 20th of April 1823.

Sayer's " Carlo Khan " has been frequently reproduced. But he can only be judged with confidence after examining the collection in the British Museum, 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 great plates he is inferior to Gillray, and he never has the grace of Rowlandson, but he is less exaggerated than either, and nearer the truth.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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