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The Devil to pay; - the wife metamorphos'd, or Neptune reposing, after Fording the Jordan

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Devil to pay; - the wife metamorphos'd, or Neptune reposing, after Fording the Jordan
  • Description

    A large bed, its head surmounted with the Royal Arms (sketchily burlesqued), and with loosely draped curtains, extends almost across the design. In it the Duke of Clarence lies asleep, Mrs. Jordan sits up with a rapt air, saying, "What pleasant Dreams I have "had To-night! methought I was in Paradise, upon a bed of Violets & Roses, "and the sweetest Husband by my side! . . ." [&c. &c] a quotation from Coffey's play 'The Devil to pay: or, the Wives metamorphosed'. Nell Jobson the cobbler's wife finds herself (temporarily) in the place of Sir John's lady.
    See Baker, 'Biog. Dram.', 1812, ii. 161. On a chair (left) are the Duke's naval coat and a pair of breeches; on a stool (right) a petticoat and pair of stays. Under the bed is a chamber-pot inscribed 'Public Jord[an] open to all Parties'.
    Beneath the design verses are etched, beginning:

    '"Ten Thousand Transports wait
    "To crown my happy State,'

    and ending,

    '"Then Jobson, now adieu,
    "Thy Cobbling still pursue,
    "For hence I will not, cannot, no, nor must not buckle to.'
    [Air xiv from the play.] 24 October 1791
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1791
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 250 millimetres
    • Width: 349 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text below image, text within image and publication line: "Pubd. Octr. 24th. 1791 by H. Humphrey No 18 Old Bond Street".
        Annotated (verso) with catalogue number.
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    One of many satires on Mrs. Jordan's association with the Duke of Clarence, see BMSat 7835, &c. The names Ford (Richard Ford) and Jordan were the occasion of many coarse puns. Nell was a favourite part of Mrs. Jordan's.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 134. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 7908 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 24 October 1791  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 24 October 1791 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA83345

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