The Balance of Power .-or-“the posterity of the immortal chatam, turn'd posture master.

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The Balance of Power .-or-“the posterity of the immortal chatam, turn'd posture master.
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James Gillray

The Balance of Power .-or-“the posterity of the immortal chatam, turn'd posture master."-

Etching

Bohn c. 1850

350 x 250 mm

£120.

Originally published 21st. April 1791

Pitt, very thin and elongated, poises on one toe on a tight-rope; he holds a long balancing-pole in both hands, on one end (left) sits the Sultan, on the other (right) Catherine II. The Turk, whose end of the pole is slightly the lower, clutches it desperately, saying, "My dear Billy, do help me to make another push, & I'll give you - half of my Seraglio". The fat Empress sits with her hands on her hips; she wears a crown, in her right hand is a sceptre, in her left a paper inscribed 'New Russian Conquests'. She says "Both Billy - the Flat, & yourself may do your worst you circumcised dog! get me down if you can! - I'll match you all, & swallow Thousands more!" Pitt stands with his head raised arrogantly in profile to the right; he says, "The old Hag cannot move me, & Seraglios cannot bribe me: - I have nothing to do with these matters - my Pole will always remain level - ". On the ground beneath the rope stands a dwarfish Sheridan (right) in profile to the left, grotesquely caricatured as a clown; he wears trousers and long sleeves which cover his hands and hang down. He says: "O! the Devil! the Devil! The Cow leaps over the Moon! And if I could once get up on the Rope, Lord! I'd fill my Pockets soon: - I mean, I would soon bring her down: fol der lol, fol der ol"