The Seige of Blenheim-or-the new system of Gunning, discovered-

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The Seige of Blenheim-or-the new system of Gunning, discovered-
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James Gillray

The Seige of Blenheim-or-the new system of Gunning, discoverd-

Etching

Bohn c. 1850

250 x 350 mm

£120.

Originally published 5th. March 1791 Miss Gunning sits astride a cannon directed against the façade of 'Blenheim'. Her mother (right) fires the cannon by putting her pen to the touch-hole; from its muzzle issue flames an letters inscribed : 'forged Love letter', 'Letter from Marq: of Blan[dford] written by myself', 'Letter written by my Daddy', 'Letter forged by my Mother', 'Letter forged by myself', 'Letters in Answer to my self''. In the central window in the portico of Blenheim are the bare posteriors of a figure emitting a bias excrement which strikes Miss Gunning, knocking her backwards, reaches Mrs. Gunning. The former, terrified, says, "O Mother! Mother! my mask'd Battery is discovered, & we shall be blown up! - O Mother, Mother, we must raise the Siege immediately, & take refuge under the Duchess's cover'd way, & there act on the defensive: O Mother: Mother, its all your fault, say what you will:" Mrs. Gunning says, her left hand raised in horror, "Good Heavens! who could have thought that the Seige of a Coronet would have ended in smoke & stink! - well I'll take my affidavit that I know nothing at all about the matter". An aged crone, the Duchess of Bedford, stands on the extreme right, raising her hooped petticoat to form a shelter; she says, "Come under my Protection, deary's I'll hide you in Bedfordshire; & find one of my little Granny-boys, to play with Missy". On the extreme left General Gunning, wearing regimentals, walks off, stooping furtively; he says, "I find our Stratagem wont take effect, & therefore I'll be off; & menœvre; - any common Soldier can lead on, to an attack, but it requires the skill of a General to bring off his forces with honor after a defeat - ". After the title is etched, 'dedicated to the Duke of A------ [Argyll]' and 'Vide - A bold stroke for a Husband' (a comedy by Mrs. Cowley, 1783).