satirising the 1796 General Election in the seat of Inverkeithing, contested by Sir John Henderson and the Hon. Andrew Cochrane Johnstone. The violent and chaotic scene is set in the interior of the inn at Kinghorn where a group of Dunfermline councillors, who were lodged there to secure the vote of the local delegate in Cochrane’s favour, came under attack from supporters of Henderson. From the posthumously published ‘A Series of Original Portraits and Caricature Etchings by the Late John Kay, Miniature Painter, Edinburgh’.
John Kay (1742-1826) was born in Dalkeith where he became apprenticed to a barber at the age of 13. He moved to Edinburgh as a young man in the 1760s, still plying his trade as a member of the corporation of barber-surgeons. But, in 1784, he produced his first etching and was soon encouraged to convert his premises to a print shop, such was the popularity of his caricatures and portraits of local characters and figures of the day. The first published collection, gathered together by the Edinburgh publisher, Hugh Paton, didn’t appear until over a decade after Kay’s death, in 1838, with subsequent re-issues in 1842 and 1877, before the printing plates were formally destroyed,
hand-coloured engraving on wove paper, 205 x 165 mm. (8 x 6 1/2 in), signed with initials and dated 1796 in the plate, [BM Satires 8820],