James Gillray (1756 – 1815) He was born in Chelsea, and sent to the Moravian Academy at Bedford at an early age. After that he was apprenticed to a letter engraver in London, but he found the work boring and he deserted his master to join a company of strolling players. He arrived back in London in 1775 and soon began selling his engravings to London print shops. In 1778 he became a student at the Royal Academy where he studied under Francesco Bartolozzi. He tried to earn a living as a portrait painter, but had to sell engravings to make a living. Gradually, he began to focus on political topics and became known as a maker of scathing caricatures.