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Improvement in Weights and Measures.-or-Sir John Seeclear discovering ye Ballance of ye British Flag.

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Improvement in Weights and Measures.-or-Sir John Seeclear discovering ye Ballance of ye British Flag.
  • Description

    Sinclair, tall and thin, stands full-face, holding up in his right hand a balance (steelyard, or stilliard) inscribed 'Vive le Egalité'. A large British flag at the right end of the beam much outweighs a bunch of objects at the other; three documents: [1] 'Navy of England to be retaind viz: 50000 Seamen & half a Dozen Ships of War - 500000 Sailors to be sent to plant Potatoes.' [2] '10 000 heavy reasons for giving the Enemy a fair chance of getting out of their Ports.' [3] 'Advantages of cold oeconomy'. Below these are bunches of turnips, carrots, a cabbage, the whole terminating in a pendent bonnet-rouge. Sinclair is fashionably dressed, wearing a hat, half-boots, ill-fitting coat, and overcoat almost to the ankles.
    On a heavily draped writing-table (right) are three large volumes: 'Improvements in the Art of Political Dunging and Pursuits of Agriculture.' A paper: 'The Apostate Laird - a Parliamentary Romance - together with Loss of the Agricultural Arm' Chair. On the wall (right) is a picture of three pigs feeding at a trough of 'Democratic Verbosity'; this is 'Pigs Meat: or new method of feeding the Swinish Multitude' [see BMSat 8500, &c.]. Beside it is a placard: 'Table of Weights & Measures laid down upon the true democratic Principle of the Stilliards of Egalité'. A patterned carpet completes the design. 1 December 1798
    Hand coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1798
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 360 millimetres
    • Width: 260 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, artist's name, text within image and publication line: 'Js Gillray invt & fect/ Pubd Decr Ist 1798. by H. Humphrey 27 St James's Street.'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
    Sinclair the agriculturist, having attacked Pitt in two pamphlets in 1798, lost by one vote the presidency of the Board of Agriculture, owing to the opposition of the'official members. On 20 Nov. he opposed the Address on the King's Speech, blaming the Ministry for not giving Nelson sufficient support to make his victory more complete. On 27 Nov. he opposed the Naval Estimates, urging a reduction of the Navy on the grounds of the French defeat, but was not supported by the remnant of the Opposition, see BMSats 9277, 9282, 9416; 'Parl. Hist.' xxxiii. 1553-5, 1562 (more fully reported in the 'London Chronicle', 27 Nov.). Like Moira (see BMSat 9184), Sinclair proposed (1798) an administration excluding both Pitt and Fox. J. Sinclair, 'Memoirs of Sir John Sinclair', 1838, i. 304-8.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 252. Wright and Evans, No. 214. J. Sinclair, op. cit. i. 312. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 9271 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 December 1798  Hand coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 December 1798 Hand coloured etching

Image description



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