The Return to Office

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The Return to Office
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George Cruikshank

The Return to Office

London, M. Jones July 1st. 1811, The Scourge


Original hand colouring

197 x 396 mm

Traces of old folds as issued.


The Duke of York, mounted on the shoulders of General Dundas, is about to enter the 'Horse Guards'; the Regent, pompous and regal in court dress with royal robes, ushers him in with a commanding gesture and a pleased smile, which the Duke returns. Perceval, wearing his Chancellor's robes, gleefully runs in front, using a broom to clear the way and pushing aside Wardle who lies on his back, his legs raised and supported against the wall; a box inscribed 'Freedom of the City' dangles from his foot, while on his body lie papers: 'Address Col Wardle'; 'Col. Wardle'. He is befouled by a perky little dog with the head of Mrs. Clarke, wearing a padlocked collar: 'Mary Anne late the property of ye D- but now -.' The Duke gleefully flourishes his sword and a flag inscribed 'Extraordinary Gazette London May 25th his Royal Hin . .. reinstated'. Dundas, very thin with a nut-cracker profile, wears the mob-cap of an old woman. The Duke is preceded by a tiny grotesque figure of Fame with small wings and wearing breeches, who strides through the air under the archway, blowing two trumpets, one behind him. From them issue the words 'He comes he co . . .', and 'He comes he comes the Hero comes'. Two M.P.s who had originally voted against the Duke express their regret by sitting on three-legged stools inscribed 'Stool of Repentance', from which they lean forward to kiss his posterior. The first stool is 'Bankes Stool', beside it is a small overturned pot of 'Bankes Blacking', with boot-brushes, and a large pail of 'Bankes Patent White wash 1811'. The other is 'Barham's stool'. Behind Barham a funeral procession advances: a coffin inscribed 'The Patriotism of 140 Wigs', with pall-bearers wearing mourning scarves and black cloaks (cf. No. 9258); the most prominent of the five is Sheridan. On the coffin is a wig on a wig-block. Behind the coffin walks a weeping 'cit' resembling John Bull. In the foreground (left), a pendant to Wardle, is Time holding his scythe and hourglass with a serpent forming a complete circle (emblem of eternity). He tramples on a bag inscribed 'Opposition Resolutions' from which smoke issues. In the sky above him is a balloon in flames; a tiny aeronaut falling headlong from the basket; this is inscribed 'Charges against his R H the Duke - charges air light air nothing.'