The Mountebanks, or opposition show box.
Nathaniel NoParty Esqr invt. G Cruickshank Sculpt. Published Febury 1st 1812 by M Jones 5 Newgate Street.
|Main Creator:||Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878, artist|
Satirical caricature. Plate to the 'Scourge', iii, before p. 87. The show-box is a small platform on four legs, like a high table, the front partly covered by drapery - on this members of Opposition are performing. The front legs are inscribed 'Avarice -Treason' (on left leg) and 'Impudence' 'Apostacy' (on right leg). To the legs on the right have been fastened bands or leading-strings inscribed 'Restrictions' - however a spirited thoroughbred horse with the head of the Regent has broken free from these restraints as the figure of Father Time has cut them with his shears. The figure on the gallopping horse in oriental dress with a jewelled turban is Richard Colley Wellesley - he holds the reins high above his head, while he flourishes the long knotted lash of his whip towards the stage which he is leaving behind him. His left leg is thrust forward, so that George Canning (at right) may obsequiously lick his toe. On the edge of the platform sits Charles Grey, leaning forward to tie a bandage inscribed 'Catholic Emancipation' over the eyes of an alarmed John Bull, (a countryman with a short smock and gaiters to the knee), who stands below, with his back to Grey. Against his breast is a dagger, apparently having fallen from Grey's hand. Whitbread, a quack doctor in old-fashioned dress, stands behind Grey, holding out a placard inscribed 'Infallible Panacea—Reform'; in his coat-pockets are medicine-bottles, one labelled 'Whitbreads intire'. A tiny figure of Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne is depicted behind him, apparently dancing a Highland fling. At the left of the platform kneels Richard Brinsley Sheridan, dressed as a clown - he holds a tumbler from which he blows froth through a pipe which rises not in bubbles but in smoke inscribed 'Drury Lane Promises, Old Drury Promises'. Two men, holding pouches inscribed 'Token of English Credulity', advance to the platform to drop coins in Sheridan's tumbler. On the right of the platform is a box inscribed 'State Box, from under the lid papers project inscribed 'Corruption', 'Reform', 'Abuses', 'Catholic Bill'. On this is a pile of coin and money-bags, inscribed '16000 Sinecure', on which William Grenville is seated - his bottom is inscribed 'Modesty', he shakes towards the right (and towards the departing Regent) a large piece of fabric inscribed 'Cloak of Patriotism'. On the ground between the platform and the horse's heels is an overturned box inscribed 'Opposition'; it has been upset by a dog with the head of Sir Francis Burdett who leaps towards the horse barking 'Bow woo woo woo'. From the box project the heads of animals on short posts - these are a fox, a donkey and a dog. Spencer Perceval, wearing his gown, stoops under the platform to put a torch to a barrel inscribed 'Stephens's Inflamable'. He says: "Here goes! for a Complete blow up." On the ground between John Bull and Perceval is another figure, wearing a blue jacket (George Ponsonby?) holding upside down a bottle labelled 'Compassion for the Irish'. Smoke or cloud billows along the ground behind the figures with George Canning being partially engulfed by it.
|Format:||PRINTS & DRAWINGS|
|Published / Created:||
London : M. Jones, 5 Newgate Street, Febury. 1st 1812 .
Formerly held at PD 4497 TC.
Physical description: 1 print : hand-coloured engraving ; image 16.4 x 22.9., on sheet 30.5 x 24 cm..
Citations/References: Catalogue of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires, Volume 9, No. 11846 by Mary Dorothy George.
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Reproduction rights owned by National Library of Ireland.