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During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, illustrators such as Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray, and George Cruikshank made British caricature a vital popular art form. Through their colorful renderings of humorously exaggerated people in absurd scenarios, these artists offered ridicule and criticism of prevailing political, social, and religious positions of the day to their educated, affluent audiences. Today, the influence of these masters of mockery may be read in contemporary editorial cartoons, as well as in the topical parody produced for television and other media.