A touch on the times

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A touch on the times
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Thomas Rowlandson

A touch on the times.

London, S W Fores 29th. Dec. 1788

Etching

Original hand colouring

255 x 360 mm

Trimmed to image at right and top borders.

£350

A parody of BMSat 7386. lhe Prince and Britannia stand on each side of the Coronation Chair as in BMSat 7386. Its Gothic carvings are altered to satyrs' heads. On the back of the Chair is a small money-bag inscribed Virtue. The Prince and Britannia stand as before, but the foot which she places on the step inscribed 'The Voice of the People' is a cloven hoof. The next step, 'Publick Safety', is badly cracked; the other steps are blank. No words come from Britannia's mouth; the Prince says, "I woud do the best to please my People". Liberty and Justice are transformed into Sheridan and Fox. Sheridan, wearing ragged clothes, holds the cap of 'Liberty' on a broom; he puts one hand on the Prince's shoulder while he steals a handkerchief from his coat-pocket. Fox, in place of Justice's sword, holds a bludgeon in the head of which is an eye which drips blood (in the coloured version); he holds up an evenly-balanced pair of scales, formed of two dice-boxes. His eye-bandage is pushed up on his forehead and he says, "I have the Voice of the People in my Eye". 'Commerce' is transformed from a comely young woman into a drunken hag who holds up a glass of gin. The Mayor says, "We have not been taxed this twelvemonth". Pitt, instead of being the colleague of the Furies, attacks them: in his left hand he holds up a large conical extinguisher with which he is about to put out the torch of 'Rebellion'. He says, "I could soon extinguish these Puppet Shew Vapours if properly supported". The Fury holds up two torches, one of 'Rebellion', the other 'Puppet Shew'. He puts his left foot on the prostrate head of 'Envy', who is holding up a fire-brand. The third fury (Falsehood) has disappeared. The British Lion looks from behind Britannia's shield snarling ferociously in defence of Pitt. B M 7387