John Bull in the Council Chamber

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John Bull in the Council Chamber
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George Cruikshank

John Bull in the Council Chamber.

London, M. Jones July 1st. 1813, The Scourge

Etching

Original hand colouring

207 x 495 mm

Traces of old folds as issued

£420

Queen Charlotte, hideously caricatured, sits enthroned under a canopy in the centre of the design. Her knees are wide apart, and one skinny foot in a grotesque high-heeled shoe of antique pattern is raised high on a cushioned stool, which is a coffer containing the 'Hastings Diamond'; in her left hand is a sceptre topped by an eagle, her left elbow rests on a bolster, inscribed 'German Sausage', which is poised on a great heap of green-stuff in a receptacle inscribed 'Sauer Kraut' [cf. No. 10170]. A small crown is perched on her feathered cap. She takes snuff from a box inscribed 'Strasburgh' proffered by a lean grotesque courtier (left), kneeling on one knee; another (right) stands with flexed knees holding another box so inscribed. Both have hideous comic profiles, wear quasi-military dress with epaulets, and feminine mob-caps. A third, without a cap, stands behind the first, extending a jar of 'Strasbu[rgh]' snuff. Little grotesque demons run forward, three on the left, with boxes on their heads, inscribed respectively 'Real Strasburg', 'Princes Mixture', and 'Irish Blaguard'. A fourth advances from the right with a huge crowned jar of 'Royal Strasburgh' on his head. The festooned canopy above the Queen is supported by terminal pillars, topped by half length figures of hideous naked hags, with arms crossed and resting on clustered money-bags inscribed '1000' or '. . . 00'. Round each is twined a serpent with fanged and fiery jaws from which issue the words 'Pride Corruption' (left) and 'Malice Hatered' (right). She says: "Am I not the Q—n. I will not lose one jot of my prerogative—More Strasburgh there—lay before me the Reports—" On the left Liverpool (?), his body covered with scales, and having cloven hoofs, a barbed tail, small horns sprouting from his forehead, and (incorrectly) a star on his breast, stands holding out a paper headed 'Secret Inquiry', and making a declamatory gesture with extended arms. He says: "May it please your — The precious Ore resists every Chemical attempt at deterioration— so the Virtue of injured Woman repels the touch of Slander & rises superior to its malevolence. I take Shame to myself at discomfiture—but the Princess is declared "Innocen [sic]!" Behind him (left) stands Ellenborough in wig and gown, with clenched fists, directed to the right. He says, scowling, "By Hell I thought to shame the Rogues but the d—d Brewer [Whitbread, the champion of the Princess] was to much for me." On the extreme left stands Sir Henry Halford in profile to the right, with a huge hooked nose; he holds a paper headed 'Medical monthly Report', and says, bowing: "May it please your M—g—ty the Reports of the Physicians is admirably confused & equivocating & well calculated to meet the public eye!" On the extreme right the Regent sleeps in an infant's cradle, at the head of which are three scraggy ostrich feathers and the motto 'Ich Dein' [sic]. He clasps a doll, with large breasts and wearing a spiky crown, intended for Lady Hertford (cf. No. 11853); between his legs is a decanter of 'Curacoa'. Kneeling before the cradle is a ragged Irishman in profile to the right, holding out a paper headed 'Catholic Claims'. Eldon, in Chancellor's wig and gown, kneels protectingly beside the cradle, stretching out his arms to defend the child from the Irishman. He says: "Be easy Pat or you will disturb the Royal Conscience which is now dozeing in quiet comfortable slumbers." Pat answers: "By St Patrick but so long as your Lordship is its Keeper there is no danger of disturbing it." Behind Pat, John Bull stands with legs astride and hands raised in astonishment; he looks to the left, saying, "Mercy on me what have we hear, Conscience asleep! on the one hand & the Manufacture of Reports on the other— Is this the way I am bubbled?!" He is framed by rocks as if standing in the mouth of a cave.