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Christmas-gambols, or the pleasures of a court.

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Christmas-gambols, or the pleasures of a court.
  • Description

    Plate from 'Town Talk'. A reception at Carlton House, at which stags' antlers are being attached to the foreheads of the men-guests. In the centre the Regent stands in profile to the right, fixing the antlers on the head of a stout man wearing a ribbon, but turns his head in back view, saying, "Give me Age and wrinkles, your young girls are only food for children." A middle-aged and rather haggard lady assists the Regent with the fastening at the back of her husband's head, saying over her shoulder to Lord Hertford: "A very Noble looking Buck he makes dont you think so Marquis!" She wears the Prince's feathers in her hair with a bandeau inscribed 'Ich Dien,' and is clearly the Regent's latest mistress. Lady Hertford is prominent, standing with her back to her husband, and looking angrily at the trio; Hertford also watches the operation resentfully, taking snuff. The company is entering the room through a wide doorway (left); ladies are seated against the wall. All the women wear feathers in their hair. In the foreground (left), McMahon, a bundle of antlers under his arm, offers a pair to a stiff and rather obese man wearing a ribbon (? Salisbury); they are being selected by his tall wife, who stoops to inspect them through an eye-glass. Salisbury says: "I think those are too large for me my Lady." McMahon says: "My Lady's the best judge of that!" She says: "To be sure I am but I should like a pair with a little more gold on them!" On the extreme left an antlered man wearing a ribbon looks with astonishment towards a pier-glass (concealed by the margin): he raises his arms frantically. His wife says: "Dont be frightened my Dear you shall not suffer the fate of Acteon." An amused spectator says: "No faith for there are no Diana's here!" On the extreme right the game is in progress: two men, both wearing ribbons, are struggling against each other with locked antlers. Behind them stand four other antlered men and three ladies. Two of the latter face each other, saying, "I'll bet you a hundred my Buck beats!!," and, "Done! double if you please my Lady! my Buck has bore Antlers for some Years!" The third leans eagerly towards them, her hand on the shoulder of a man who is watching the contest intently; she says: "My Old Buck shall take up the conqueror for what you please Ladies!" One of the other bystanders: "This will make a pretty novel amusement to introduce on the Continent"; his vis-à-vis answers: "and occasion perhaps a new order of Knighthood." In the background (left) the Duke of York, screening his face with his hat, says to one of his brothers: "We must take care of the young ones Brother!"
    1 January 1814
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1814
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 183 millimetres
    • Width: 475 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered: "Pubd for the Proprietor of Town Talk, January 1st 1814".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
    A satire on the manners and morals of Carlton House. One of many allusions to the Prince's penchant for middle-aged women, cf. No. 8485, &c. It illustrates his supposed desertion of Lady Hertford, cf. No. 12189.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 12173 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British 1814 Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  1 January 1814  Hand-coloured etching


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 January 1814 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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