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Georgian satire on show in city chimes with today's audience

T he picture on the right is a cartoon from the Northern Looking Glass, a satirical magazine of the 1820s, highlighting Scotland's traditional financial prudence.

It is on display at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum until August 12, as part of the exhibition How Glasgow Flourished 1714-1837. Including paintings, objects and digital displays, the exhibition - mounted to coincide with the Commonwealth Games - tells the story of the city's Hanoverian transformation from a bustling centre of intercontinental trade to a Victorian industrial powerhouse.

The exhibition charts the rise of the textile, tobacco, sugar, chemical and heavy engineering industries, plus the contribution of Glasgow-based economic thinkers such as Adam Smith and the development of the "Glasgow System".

The exhibition represents this as a series of interlocking cogs, including business (merchants, tradesmen, businessmen), credit (bankers), cheap labour (colonial slaves and migrant workers), imports (tobacco, cotton, sugar, textiles, timber and so on) and exports (in particular metalwork, tools, ceramics and coal) expedited by transport and communications, moving goods and information round the world.

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