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The Court of Love, or an election in the island of Borneo.

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Court of Love, or an election in the island of Borneo.
  • Description

    Plate to the 'Scourge', iv, before p. 349. An illustration to 'Elections in the Isle of Borneo', pp. 349-55, relating a dream in which the Prince chooses his Ministers and Household officers according to their proficiency in adultery. A sequel to No. 11899. The Regent is enthroned under a canopy in the centre of a long platform backed by the pillars of Carlton House. Below is the cobbled street, with passers-by and spectators whose heads are just below the platform, so that the figures are arranged in two tiers. The Regent's throne is on a triple dais; he puts one arm round the waist of Lady Hertford who sits on his knee, holding at arms' length a brimming goblet. She puts her right arm round his neck, and also supports herself by placing a finger on the branching antlers of her husband, who stands in his chamberlain's robes, and holding his wand of office, beside the dais, at which he points with a complacent grin. He says: "My gracious Master is personelly acquainted with my merits, they live in his bosom, & he will reward me, according to my Deserts." Lady Hertford wears a spiky crown, and her vast spherical breasts are divided by a jewel in the form of the Prince's feathers with his motto 'Ich Dien.' The drapery over the throne is centred by the crowned skull of a stag, with wide antlers; in its nostrils is a ring from which a birch-rod hangs above the Prince's head. A grinning demon, standing on the antlers, straddles across the crown, holding up the drapery. On the left of the throne the Duke of York, in uniform with cavalry boots, his hand on his sword, stands swaggeringly. A woman clutches his arm and whispers in his ear; beside them is a basket containing three infants and inscribed 'Mother Careys Chickin' [see No. 11050]. He says: "I was turned out of the Office I now solicit because I was too fond of a married Woman [Mrs. Clarke, see No. 11216, &c.] & could not live without commiting Adultery I claim therefore to be once more elevated to the Office of Commander in Cheif." Behind Lord Hertford (and a pendant to Mrs. Carey) stands an elderly posturing peer, wearing a star, his hands deprecatingly extended. He says: "As for business I never had a Headfor't but I have laid the Country under a Massy load of Obligations in other respects Adultery is my Motto so give me ******ship of the H-." Next (right) is a group of three: the Duke of Cumberland in outlandish Death's Head Hussar uniform holding a sabre with a notched blade and seemingly dripping blood, though not so coloured. He stands between two young women; one, holding his arm, brandishes a razor over her head, the other holds a paper called 'Nugent'. The Duke says: "Considering my Exploits you cannot do less than make me a Field Marshal." On the extreme right is the Duke of Clarence in admiral's uniform with trousers, pointing to a broken chamber-pot ('Jordan') decorated with a crown and containing seven children, two in uniform. Mrs. Jordan takes him affectionately by the arm. He points downwards, saying, "I have lived in Adultery with an actress 25 years & have a pretty Number of illegetimate Children. I hope you will make me an Admiral of the Fleets."
    On the extreme left McMahon, dwarfish and ugly, stoops over the edge of the platform, pouring coins from a bag marked 'P P' [reversed letters], for Privy Purse (or Pimp), into the apron of a hideous bawd who grins up at him. He says: "Let her be forty at least, plump & Sprightly." Next stands Lord Yarmouth, wearing a star, his hands in his pockets, scowling at a young woman who puts her hands on his shoulders; he says: "Confound my Wishers if Venus alias Fanny Anny [Fagniani] may not go to Juno-—I'm Vice all over. Let me con tinue so." Next is a tall man wearing a long driving-coat with a star and a small rakish top-hat (? Lord Melbourne); one leg terminates in a cloven hoof. He stands between two disreputable women of the lowest St. Giles type, ragged and hideous, an arm across the shoulders of each; both offer him drink, one takes him by the chin. A third and younger woman sits on the ground at his feet, drinking from a bottle. He says: "As for me my Name is sufficient, I am known as the Paragon of Debauchery and I only claim to be the-s [Regent's] Confidential Friend."
    On the ground (left to right) are the bawd receiving money from McMahon, a ragged dustman with the curved shin-bones then known as 'cheese-cutters', a result of rickets; George Hanger, with his bludgeon under his arm (cf. No. 8889, &c.), saying, "Hang her She's quite Drunk"; Augustus Barry, grotesquely thin and very rakish, with long coat, standing with widely splayed-out feet. These three stare up at the throne, Barry looking through an eye-glass. A ragged, sub-human creature picks Barry's pocket, taking a paper: 'A Sermon to be Preached at Cripple gate by Revd Honble A Newgate'. A blind beggar (? a sailor) walks with a stick, and a dog on a string, holding out his tattered hat. A Quaker-like figure stares up at the platform where the legs of the seated prostitute hang over its edge, as does a beggar boy with badly twisted legs. Next, a fashionably dressed man and woman shake hands, bending to stare into each other's face. He takes her left hand. His dress resembles that of the dandy of a few years later: shock of hair, exaggerated neck-cloth, hussar-pattern trousers, and long tail-coat. The centre figure in this lower row is John Bull looking up angrily over his shoulder at the prostitute, and pushing away to the right three young girls; he says to them: "Get away get away, if you go near the Platform you'll be ruined." His bull-dog looks pugnaciously up at the platform. A tall emaciated cavalry soldier speaks to a woman in a poke-bonnet, while a little ragged boy clasps the long horse-tail which hangs from his helmet. On the extreme right is Sheridan in (ragged) Harlequin's dress (cf. No. 9916), moribund or drunk, supported between two top-booted bailiffs; one holds a writ and says "Poor fellow his Magic wand is broken." On the ground lies his wooden sword in two pieces, one inscribed 'M', the other 'P'; at his feet is a paper: 'Princely Promises'.
    1 November 1812
    Hand-coloured etching.


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1812
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 276 millimetres
    • Width: 480 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, publication line and artist's name 'G. Cruikshank fect / Published November 1st 1812 by W N Jones No5 Newgate Street.'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
    A picture of depravity centring, as in No. 11899, in the associations of the Regent with the Hertfords. The Duke of York had been reinstated as Commander-in-Chief, see No. 11725; the Duke of Clarence had been made Admiral of the Fleet by the Regent in 1811; he had separated from Mrs. Jordan, see No. 11744. The Duke of Cumberland was Colonel of the 15th Dragoons (hussars since 1806); he was made Field Marshal 26 Nov. 1813. It is implied that he murdered his valet Sellis, instead of being Sellis's victim, see No. 11561, and the woman with the razor is probably Mrs. Sellis, the reputed cause of the supposed attack on her husband. 'Nugent' must relate to one of the scandals the public delighted to guess at. For the Marquis of Headfort (K.P. 1806) see No. 12042. He wrote on 4 Oct. to McMahon, professing devotion to the Regent and referring to the latter's constant 'attention, kindness, friendship and protection'. 'Corr. of George IV', 1938, i. 162. Melbourne (1745-1828) was 'principally known by the distinguished place that he occupies in the annals of meretricious pleasure', Wraxall, 'Memoirs', 1884, iii. 370. He and Headfort were made Lords of the Bedchamber in Mar. 1812 (see No. 12006). For the Prince and Lady Melbourne see No. 6961, &c. Yarmouth, Lady Hertford's son and the Prince's friend, was Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, see No. 11890, &c.; his wife Maria Fagniani lived in Paris and was a mistress of Junot, cf. No. 12056 (B. Falk, 'Old Q's daughter', 1937, p. 49). For MacMahon as the Prince's pimp cf. No. 11874. For Augustus Barry (1773-1818, 'Newgate') see No. 7997. Sheridan's defeat in the 1812 election completed his ruin. His estrangement from the Prince followed, and the latter was accused of deserting him. Actually, the Regent provided him with £4,000 to buy another seat, but, it is said, Sheridan through procrastination applied it to the payment of pressing debts and thereafter avoided the donor. 'Croker Papers', 1884, i. 305-11; Rhodes, 'Harlequin Sheridan', 1933, 228 ff.; see No. 12081. In 1812 the Regent instituted new helmets for the Life Guards with long horse-tails, See 'Examiner', 1812, pp. 651-3, 698 (verses).

    (Supplementary information)
    Not folded, showing that it was issued separately.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 11914 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XIXc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 November 1812  Hand-coloured etching.


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 November 1812 Hand-coloured etching.

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