Exhibitions: Wicked Wit: Darly’s Comic Prints at the Chester Beatty Library. The Chester Beatty Library is showing a selection of hand coloured etchings from their own collection. These were created by a married couple in the eighteenth century – Matthew and Mary Darly. Both artists used the same monogram: MD, or MDarly. Although held in a relatively small space, the Wicked Wit exhibition features over one hundred prints on an array of topics. The fresh humour might surprise most visitors, given that they were created over two centuries ago. Some might think that it wasn’t until Monty Python that historical trends were satirised, but the Dalys sent up contemporary fashion and its followers with a bold dynamism that seems very modern.
There is also a small section dedicated to more serious geo-political issues of the day. The Darlys were also risk takers, and depicted a more nuanced take on the colonisation of America and the issues arising for those under the rule of the British empire. The couple were successful and by the end of the 1770’s their work was available across Ireland, England, Europe and America. They held a show of exclusively their own work in London every spring called Darley’s Comic Exhibitions. Mary Darley wrote, illustrated and herself published the first book on caricature drawing in 1762.
Wicked Wit runs at the Chester Beatty Library until February 14th 2016. Admission is free.
More information can be found at http://www.cbl.ie/Exhibitions/Coming-Soon.aspx