Collection online

Employment during recess

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Employment during recess
  • Description

    A design in two compartments, each based on one of the familiar 'Cries of London':
    In 'Le--Gagne--Petit' (left) Fox is a knife-grinder busily sharpening a headsman's axe. Arranged along his barrow are four knives of various shapes inscribed respectively 'Enquiry', 'inversion', 'sarcasm' (with a notched blade), 'incrementum'. A horn attached to the barrow is inscribed 'Fluidity', a box 'Collective Ideas'. In the background (left) is the gateway of St. James's Palace with two sentries. Behind Fox (right) is the house at the SW. corner of 'St James's St'. He wears a cap and a waistcoat showing a ragged shirtsleeve. Beneath the design is engraved:

    'To be Sirs Ingenious I'll tell you my Mind
    'tis for What I can get Makes me Willing to Grind.'

    [2] 'Poisson-Salé'. Burke walks (left to right) along Pall Mall carrying bundles of stock-fish on a pole across his shoulder; he bends forward supporting himself with a stout stick. His only garment, except hat and short wig showing his own hair, is a coat worn back to front, his legs being bare. On a wall behind him (left) are two play-bills: 'Much-Ado about
    Nothing Principle Performer Mr B------e with The Fathless Irishman', and
    'Impeachment of Warren Hastings a Farce, as performed by the Tools of Faction St Stephens Chaple'. Beneath the design is engraved:

    'Salt Fish ho
    'tis I Who late Amused you all by Crying Hastings.' 25 November 1786 Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1786
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 210 millimetres
    • Width: 347 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered: 'Published by H. Humphreys New Bond St Novr 25 1786'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    'Hastings' is a pun: early peas were cried in the London streets as hastings, cf. BMSat 7267, &c.
    For the proceedings against Hastings in 1786 see BMSat 6979, &c. For Fox and Burke cf. BMSats 6790, 6791.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 6994 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British 1786 Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat)  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat) Hand-coloured etching

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA76433

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help