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A representation of the horrid barbarities practised upon the nuns by the fish-women, on breaking into the nunneries in France-

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • A representation of the horrid barbarities practised upon the nuns by the fish-women, on breaking into the nunneries in France-
  • Description

    The interior of a convent church. Fishwives with birch-rods are scourging nuns, some of whom are supported on the backs of other fish-wives in the manner of schoolboys. Their bare posteriors, slim legs with clocked stockings, and elegant slippers, give the nuns a meretricious appearance. The fish-wives are fierce, ragged creatures ; some wear crosses suspended from their necks. Behind (right) are the high iron gates which shut off the part of the church reserved to the nuns from the rest of the building. On the wall (left) is a picture of the scourging of Christ. Beneath the title is etched: 'N:B: This Print is dedicated to the Fair-Sex of Great-Britain, & intented to point out the very dangerous effects which may arise to Themselves, if they do not exert that influence to hinder the "Majesty of the People" from getting possession of the Executive Power.' 21 June 1792
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1792
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 300 millimetres
    • Width: 455 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title and publication detail: 'Pubd June 21th 1792. by J Aitken Castle Street Leicester Square'.
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    Nuns and devotes were whipped in Paris during Passion week 1791 by market women, see a print: 'La discipline patriotique ou le fanatisme corrigé' in 'Révolutions de France et de Brabant', reproduced Grand-Carteret, 'L'Histoire, la Vie, les Mœurs . . .', iv, 1928, p. 293. Burke said (during the quarrel with Fox on 6 May 1791, see BMSat 7854, &c): 'The treatment of the Nuns was too shocking almost to be mentioned. These wretched girls . . . had been dragged into the streets; these had been scourged by the sovereigns of the French nation, because the priest, from whom they had received the sacrament, had not submitted to the test.' 'Parl. Hist.' xxix. 397.
    The design has been altered in pen and water-colour; details have been cut out and small patches of paper have been added.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8109 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  1792  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1792 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA139892

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