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A ridicule; or a new æra, new manners; alias the age of wonders

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • A ridicule; or a new æra, new manners; alias the age of wonders
  • Description

    The Regent (right) advances bowing towards Lady Hertford, doffing his crescent-shaped cocked hat. From his left arm dangles a large bag with a tassel at the bottom, in which sits impassively a miniature McMahon, in profile to the left, with a pen behind his ear. He says: "I am so partial to the Privy Purse my Lady; that I have turn'd it into a Ridicule that I may have it always about me." She gazes at it, her arms extended in a gesture of surprise, saying, "Well! upon my Honor, our Friend has got a snug birth there indeed." She is plainer, and appears older than in other caricatures of this date, and is enormously fat. The words of both speakers are in labels above their heads, which float backwards to conceal two portraits, of which the lower parts only are within the design. The frames are inscribed respectively 'Solomon' [above the Prince] and 'Sheba' [above Lady Hertford], denoting portraits of the pair. The room resembles an ante-room and is plainly furnished, with a pot-plant standing in a jardinière (left). A window-seat is under the sash-window, which is wide open to show the road, with the railings and trees of Manchester Square. A carriage and pair is passing. Two well-dressed men converse on the pavement. One says: "Queer News to day! all worse & worse, / Mac, is the P-s, Privy Purse." The other: "The P-s purse, No! No! you fool / You mean the P-s Ridicule." (These lines are an 'Epigram' by Moore (attributed by him to the Princess of Wales), correctly quoted except for the first line: 'What news, to-day?—"Oh! worse and worse—'; see No. 12279.)
    1 May 1812
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1812
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 245 millimetres
    • Width: 350 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered: "Pubd May 1st 1812 by Thos Tegg 111 Cheapside".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
    The Paymastership of Widows' Pensions (cf. No. 11864), a sinecure of £2,700 and an item in the Army Estimates, which had been granted to McMahon as a virtual salary for his office of Private Secretary to the Regent, was refused in the Commons by a majority of 3 on 24 Feb. 'Parl. Deb.' xxi. 911-33, see No. 11861. In March he was gazetted Keeper of the Privy Purse and Private Secretary to the Regent; the latter office (with a salary of £2,000) was attacked as unconstitutional, since it was alleged to constitute an intrusion between the Sovereign and his Ministers. The hostile motion was defeated by 176 to 100. Ibid. xxii. 332-64; 'Letters of George IV', 1938, p. lxxiv f., 40. Before the Prince became Regent these offices were unquestioned posts in his Household, McMahon having succeeded Thomas Tyrwhitt. The Keeper-ship of the Privy Purse ('P.P.') connoted for caricaturists the office of the Prince's pimp, cf. Nos. 11730, 13231. For the Prince's visits to Hertford House see No. 11859, &c. 'New Æra' is a quotation from a City petition, see No. 11866. 'Ridicule', a perversion of 'réticule', was a French term, adopted in England, for the bags carried by ladies when transparent dresses displaced the old-fashioned pocket, see No. 9577. For the Privy Purse see also Nos. 11865, 11868, 11869, 11877, 11888, 11914, 12039, 12081, 12082, 12110, 12749, 12756, 12757.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 11874 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British 1812 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



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Object reference number: PPA84654

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