Spleen, Vide Pope

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Spleen, Vide Pope
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Samuel De Wilde pseud ‘Thomaso Scrutiny’

Spleen, Vide Pope

London, S Tipper, Leadenhall Street for The Satirist. February 1st 1808


Original hand colouring

Repairs to old folds and margins

185 x 350mm


Seven members of the late Ministry are strung out in the foreground as characters metamorphosed by spleen (hypochondria), with the appropriate lines engraved below them in the margin. On the left Erskine’s head in his Chancellors wig projects, with the mace, from a tea-pot: Unnumber’d throngs on ev’ry side are seen, Of bodies chang’d to various forms by spleen, Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, One bent; the handle this, and that the spout. Next, Whitbread’s head and shoulders emerge from a pipkin; he is crowned with a tankard of Whitbread Entire from which froth ascends, inscribed Hymns: A Pipkin, there, like Homer’s tripod walks; Windham’s head and feet project from a large jar inscribed Pickles of all sorts. Here sighs a jar,- Lord Henry Petty’s head and shoulders, with an open book and a dancing masters fiddle, project from a goose pie, the pie dish in the forma of a goose: -and there a goose pie talks; Next, Temple, with a enormous paunch descending to his ankles, straddles across a packet of Foolscap and a bunch of pens. Men prove with child, as pow’rful fancy works On the extreme right Sheridan’s head and feet project from a bottle named Sherry; he wears a woman’s cap: And maids, turned bottles, call aloud for corks Between and slightly behind Windham and Petty is a corkscrew, the handle forming a base for the head and shoulders for the Duke of Norfolk. Behind these is a row of lesser personages, all but one with animal’s heads; cats, asses, a goat, a bull, a fox, a rat, etc. Only one can be identified: Catalani, who stands as if singing, a veil floating from her head as in Semiramide. The one with a human head has a serpentine body terminating in a tail; he is Skeffington. Behind him is a weeping willow with the tiny body of a man suspended from it’s branches. On the extreme left is a gothic building surmounted by a weathercock, perhaps intended for St Stephen’s Chapel (the House of Commons). In the sky the figure of Spleen, with webbed wings, emerges from clouds to lean over her victims, holding out in each hand a bunch of large pens, BM 10963