To create his paintings Charlie Billingham uses fragments of imagery from
historic British drawings and etchings. His main interest is in the satirical prints of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which mostly fall into the late Georgian and Regency eras. Drawing on imagery from the likes of James Gillray (1756-1815), Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) and George Cruikshank (1792-1878) among others, Billingham takes elements and aspects of the original caricatures. Through cropping, manipulating and collaging, he reimagines them. By doing so he strips away much of the original politics and narratives, creating his own more ambiguous compositions.
Billingham often exhibits his paintings within installations that use printing and textiles, which reference domestic decorative interiors. For this exhibition the walls have been printed by hand with stamps which are based on watercolour drawings by the artist. One of the paintings hangs on a tapestry which he designed and had produced in Belgium. The figures in that painting look out beyond the picture frame into a gestural abstract field of colours that are woven into the tapestry.