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John Bull in the Council Chamber.

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • John Bull in the Council Chamber.
  • Description

    Plate from the 'Scourge', vi, frontispiece. Queen Charlotte, hideously caricatured, sits enthroned under a canopy in the centre of the design. Her knees are wide apart, and one skinny foot in a grotesque high-heeled shoe of antique pattern is raised high on a cushioned stool, which is a coffer containing the 'Hastings Diamond'; in her left hand is a sceptre topped by an eagle, her left elbow rests on a bolster, inscribed 'German Sausage', which is poised on a great heap of green-stuff in a receptacle inscribed 'Sauer Kraut' [cf. No. 10170]. A small crown is perched on her feathered cap. She takes snuff from a box inscribed 'Strasburgh' proffered by a lean grotesque courtier (left), kneeling on one knee; another (right) stands with flexed knees holding another box so inscribed. Both have hideous comic profiles, wear quasi-military dress with epaulets, and feminine mob-caps. A third, without a cap, stands behind the first, extending a jar of 'Strasbu[rgh]' snuff. Little grotesque demons run forward, three on the left, with boxes on their heads, inscribed respectively 'Real Strasburg', 'Princes Mixture', and 'Irish Blaguard'. A fourth advances from the right with a huge crowned jar of 'Royal Strasburgh' on his head. The festooned canopy above the Queen is supported by terminal pillars, topped by half length figures of hideous naked hags, with arms crossed and resting on clustered money-bags inscribed '1000' or '. . . 00'. Round each is twined a serpent with fanged and fiery jaws from which issue the words 'Pride Corruption' (left) and 'Malice Hatered' (right). She says: "Am I not the Q—n. I will not lose one jot of my prerogative—More Strasburgh there—lay before me the Reports—" On the left Liverpool (?), his body covered with scales, and having cloven hoofs, a barbed tail, small horns sprouting from his forehead, and (incorrectly) a star on his breast, stands holding out a paper headed 'Secret Inquiry', and making a declamatory gesture with extended arms. He says: "May it please your — The precious Ore resists every Chemical attempt at deterioration— so the Virtue of injured Woman repels the touch of Slander & rises superior to its malevolence. I take Shame to myself at discomfiture—but the Princess is declared "Innocen [sic]!" Behind him (left) stands Ellenborough in wig and gown, with clenched fists, directed to the right. He says, scowling, "By Hell I thought to shame the Rogues but the d—d Brewer [Whitbread, the champion of the Princess] was to much for me." On the extreme left stands Sir Henry Halford in profile to the right, with a huge hooked nose; he holds a paper headed 'Medical monthly Report', and says, bowing: "May it please your M—g—ty the Reports of the Physicians is admirably confused & equivocating & well calculated to meet the public eye!"
    On the extreme right the Regent sleeps in an infant's cradle, at the head of which are three scraggy ostrich feathers and the motto 'Ich Dein' [sic]. He clasps a doll, with large breasts and wearing a spiky crown, intended for Lady Hertford (cf. No. 11853); between his legs is a decanter of 'Curacoa'. Kneeling before the cradle is a ragged Irishman in profile to the right, holding out a paper headed 'Catholic Claims'. Eldon, in Chancellor's wig and gown, kneels protectingly beside the cradle, stretching out his arms to defend the child from the Irishman. He says: "Be easy Pat or you will disturb the Royal Conscience which is now dozeing in quiet comfortable slumbers." Pat answers: "By St Patrick but so long as your Lordship is its Keeper there is no danger of disturbing it." Behind Pat, John Bull stands with legs astride and hands raised in astonishment; he looks to the left, saying, "Mercy on me what have we hear, Conscience asleep! on the one hand & the Manufacture of Reports on the other— Is this the way I am bubbled?!" He is framed by rocks as if standing in the mouth of a cave.
    1 July 1813.
    Hand-coloured etching.


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1813
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 207 millimetres
    • Width: 495 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, artist's name, text within image and publication line 'G. Cruikshank fect/Pub July 1st 1813 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 malevolent satire on the Queen and the Regent, probably suggested by Whitbread's speech, 27 May, on the Civil List: among notable items 'he perceived "to Messrs Randall and Bridge for snuff-boxes, 7, 170. 35"—(A laugh.)—To whom these snuff-boxes had been given they had not been told'. 'Parl. Hist.' xxvi. 383-4. The 'Scourge' (vi. 81) invents an amazed country member: '... what can the Queen do with so many snuff-boxes ?' She was an inveterate snuff-taker, 'Old Snuffy', cf. No. 11320. The 'Report' proffered by Liverpool is perhaps that of the Ministers to whom the Princess's letter, and the papers of the 'Delicate Investigation' had been referred, see No. 12031, &c. This was actually non-committal, but is here represented as an acquittal of the Princess and (inconsistently) a manufactured report to deceive John Bull. The print, however, applies more especially (and unjustly) to the monthly bulletins on the King's health signed by the doctors, headed by Halford. The last one, 5 June, was 'His Majesty has been tranquil and comfortable in general since the last general report', 'Europ. Mag.' For the failure of the Catholic Relief Bill see No. 12016. Allegations of miserly avarice against the Queen were current from 1786 to c. 1792, see No. 7836, &c. The 'Hastings Diamond' is an allusion to the unlucky affair of the bulse, a package of diamonds for the King, sent through Hastings by the Nizam of the Deccan in 1786, see No. 6966, &c., and to the known fondness for jewels of the Queen, who thus acquired the name of Queen of Diamonds, see No. 6978. She is here pilloried probably for her attitude to the Princess of Wales, and her severity to Princess Charlotte. There is no reference to the plate in the text, but cf. the verses on pp. 101-5 (Aug. 1813) on the Queen and Princess Charlotte. See No. 12272. For the Prince as an infant cf. No. 11888.
    Reid, No. 244. Cohn, No. 732.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 12066 bibliographic details
    • Reid 1871 244 bibliographic details
    • Cohn 1924 732 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 July 1813.  Hand-coloured etching.


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 July 1813. Hand-coloured etching.

Image description



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