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The Lambe speaketh

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Lambe speaketh
  • Description

    Anti-catholic satire with a wolf-headed Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, biting the neck of a sacrificial lamb suspended by its hind legs above an altar; to right, the bishops of London and Durham, the dean of Westminster and other roman catholic clerics (all with wolves' heads) drink the blood that spurts from the lamb; at Gardiner's feet lie six further lambs bearing the names of Cranmer, Ridley and other protestant reformers; at upper left, three men pull at a rope tied around Gardiner's neck (members of the House of Lords who threw out Gardiner's heresy bill on 1 May 1554) while at lower left a group of gullible men (the Commons who had passed the bill a month earlier) are attached from rings in their noses to a rope around Gardiner's waist; the devil appears top right. c.1555 Engraving and etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1555
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 264 millimetres
    • Width: 191 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with texts in English and Latin within image, the upper text beginning, "The Lambe speaketh ...", and below with six lines beginning: "Those men that eate muche and drinke muche ..."
  • Curator's comments

    The iconography and context of this image have been elucidated by R. J. Smith and M. H. Jones (JWCI, LXI, 1998, pp. 261-7, and LXIII, 2001, pp. 287-94). Although this state may well have been published in England, the print first appeared in Germany in the context of protestants in exile from Britain during the reign of Mary I. An impression of the early state, with inscriptions in Latin, survives in a copy of the book for which it was evidently made, William Turner, 'The hunting of the romyshe wolfe', published by Gillis van der Erven (Gellius Ctematius) in Emden, 1555? (STC 24356; Bodleian Library, 8o A122 Linc). Erven worked as a printer in London 1551-54 and in Emden 1554-66.
    In the present state, most of the original Latin inscriptions have been erased and engraved in English; another impression of this state is in the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (38.25 Aug 2o, fol. 259, see Harms, II.8). A woodcut version with German text is in the Zentralbibliothek, Zurich (PAS II 1/1a), and a painting of c.1560 was sold at Christie's, 11.iv.1980.
    M. Jones 'The Print in Early Modern England: An Historical Oversight', New Haven and London, 2010, pp.143-44, especially footnote 26. Jones adds that in the impression of the early state with Latin inscriptions at the Bodleian Library the book stand in empty. However, in this impression with English inscriptions the book stand reads 'Christ alone is not sufficient Without our sacrifice', which, as Smith noted, [26], explicitly offended against Protestant doctrine.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 10 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Satires German 1555 Unmounted Roy

  • Exhibition history

    1989/90 Dec-Feb, Bolton Museum & AG, Folly and Vice
    1990 Feb-Mar, York City AG. Folly and Vice
    1990 Mar-May, Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Mus, Folly and Vice
    1990 May-Jun, Birmingham Museum & AG, Folly and Vice

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition date

    1837 (before)

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: PPA70329

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