About Caricatography

From the Oxbridge English Dictionary, 3rd Edition, Oxbridge, England 1875.

caricatography /ˈkærɪkəˈtɒɡrəfi/ n. the art or practice of creating a likeness of someone’s physiognomy by exaggeration of personality and appearance. [F f. It. caricatura f. caricare load, exaggerate + -graphy f L. -graphia f. Gk -graphia writing]

The method of creating an Exaggerated Likeness of an individual’s Countenance through means Optical, Mechanical and Chemical, known as caricatography, has a long and noble Tradition, from the primitive Renaissance caricatura obscura1 through early Experiments with the daumierotype2 to the refined Techniques employed by caricatographers today. The Caricatorium, an Enterprise founded by one such Exponent, Professor Algernon Heliotrope, is dedicated to furthering our Understanding of the process, both as a Science and an Artform.

The Art & Science of Caricatography

The Mark II Physiognomatic Pantograph

The Mark II Physiognomatic Pantograph

Although much refined by Modern Technology and Precision Engineering in the Physiognomatic Pantograph, the basic theory of caricatography has remained unchanged since the early days of the caricatura obscura. Light from the subject’s physiognomy is projected onto a screen by way of a series of finely tuned Lenses, Prisms and other Mechanisms. The image that appears is usually very faint, and can only be captured on a sheet of specially treated Paper by a caricatographer trained to draw out the pertinent Details.

The final caricatograph, or, as it is called in some quarters, caricature, represents a True, if Exaggerated Representation of the sitter’s Physical Likeness and Personality, can then be presented to the Sitter for Safekeeping. The whole process for a simple Black and White (or sepia) image can take as little as Two to Three Minutes – assuming the Sitter remains motionless throughout. Recent advances in caricatography now allow for Full Colour caricatographs, although these can take between 5 to 10 Minutes to fully Develop. A full Studio caricatograph may take considerably longer, but the results of this longer Exposure will Speak for Themselves.

About the Professor

Professor Algernon Heliotrope  was born in Bearwood, England and is married to the delightful Maria. He studied at the Académie d’Caricatographique in Paris and is the current holder of the Gillrayean3 Chair of Exaggerated Physiognomy at the Royal Institute of Caricatography in London.

About The Caricatorium

The Caricatorium is wholly Owned and Maintained on behalf of the Professor by his Companion and faithful Retainer, Mr Alex Hughes, who manages his own Affairs at alexhughescartoons.co.uk and can be contacted Personally by æther-mail at alex.hughes@alexhughescartoons.co.uk.


  1. L. “obscure likeness”
  2. Named for the father of modern caricatography, Honoré Daumier
  3. Named for the great Scottish caricatography pioneer, James Gillray
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