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John Bull ground down

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • John Bull ground down
  • Description

    John Bull's head and shoulders emerge from a gigantic coffee-mill. He is being ground by Pitt into guineas which pour from the spout of the machine into the inverted coronet of the Prince of Wales, held out by the Prince (left). John Bull, his hands clasped, shrieks "Murder! Murder!" Pitt (right), both hands on the handle, is working hard, stripped to his shirt. His coat lies across an enormous heap of guineas on which he rests his left knee. He says: "God save great George our Ki . . ." Behind him, and in the upper right corner of the design, is the crown, the centre of a sun whose rays extend behind Pitt's head, with the words: "Grind away! grind away grind away Billy! never mind his bawling! grind away." Other words from the crown are directed towards the victim: "What! - What! - what! Murder hay? why, you poor Stupe, is it not for the good of your Country? hay? hay". Between Pitt and the post of the mill Dundas and Burke are grovelling for guineas: Burke, frowning, uses both hands; Dundas, who wears a plaid, fills his Scots cap.
    Behind the post Loughborough grovels, his elongated judge's wig turned in back view (cf. BMSat 6796).
    The Prince (right) wearing a Garter ribbon, with the letters 'G.P' on the jewel, kneels on one knee, his head turned in back view; he points out his harvest of coins to a row of creditors. These stand in a row on the left: a jockey, probably Chifney (given a pension by the Prince, see BMSat 7918), holds out a paper: 'Debts of Honor'. Next, a bearded Jew holds out a paper headed 'Money Lent at £500 pr Cent'. Next is Mrs. Fitzherbert (caricatured) and another woman (? Mrs. Crouch); others are indicated. Behind this group is part of the colonnade and façade of Carlton House. 1 June 1795
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1795
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 247 millimetres
    • Width: 346 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, artist's name, text within image and publication line: "design'd by Fs. Ls. Esqr. / Pubd. June. 1st. 1795 by H. Humphrey N. 37 New Bond Street".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
    Uncoloured impressions in 'Caricatures', iv, 68.
    For the Prince's debts, see BMSat 8673, &c. Burke was given a pension of '£1,200' on the civil list (30 Aug. 1795) for the lives of himself and his wife, and a further pension of '£2,500'. Stanhope, 'Life of Pitt', 1879, ii. 107-8. See BMSats 8704, 8788, 8792, &c. BMSats 8998, 9025, 9400 are similar themes (Pitt and Dundas, encouraged by George III, exploit John Bull). Cf. BMSats 8808, 8836, 9508.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 188. Wright and Evans, No. 124. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8654 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). 1 June 1795  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 June 1795 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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