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Polly & Lucy takeing off the restrictions. Vide beggars opera

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Polly & Lucy takeing off the restrictions. Vide beggars opera
  • Description

    The Regent, as Macheath, wearing military uniform and heavily shackled, stands between Mrs. Fitzherbert, who kneels at his feet (left) removing his leg-irons, and Lady Hertford (right), who stands beside him taking the fetters from his wrists (inscribed 'Restri[ctions]'), He sings "How happy could I be with either." Mrs. Fitzherbert, a long rosary dangling from her waist, says: "The Benediction of His Holiness light on the Defender of Our Faith." Lady Hertford, sultana-like in a jewelled turban, says: "You heard of the Row & the Rowly Powly Song before Our house the Other Night?!!" Behind and on the right Eldon stands full-face between Perceval and McMahon, who face each other in profile. Perceval, in his Chancellor of the Exchequer's gown, and holding a brief-bag, says: "The Greys won't move without their own Coachman tho the Brewer [Whitbread] has offerd his black to do the dirty Work." Eldon, in a huge wig, holds the Purse of the Great Seal; he says: "We must hire Jobs for the Night Work but we are Pro' Rogued." McMahon, in military uniform, has a number of ribbons and stars hanging over his arm; he says: "These Garters & Ribbonds are all returned." On the wall are two pictures: George Hanger, bestriding his pony (as in No. 8889) with a burly bailiff seated behind him, rides in the direction of a sign-post, with a noose hanging from it, pointing 'To the Kings Bench'. This is 'George & his Hanger On, takeing a ride together to a Lodging in Surry'. The other is Sheridan as Bacchus, but dressed as Harlequin (cf. No. 9916), bestriding a cask of 'Old Sherry'.
    March 1812.
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1812
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 253 millimetres
    • Width: 364 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within, artist's name and publishing details: 'G. Cruickshank Sculp / Published March 1812 by J Jonhston 98 Cheapside'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
    For the lapsing of the Regency Restrictions see No. 11846, &c. Mrs. Fitzherbert, whose separation from the Regent (see No. 11856) is ignored, stands for the Catholic interest and thus for the Opposition, while Lady Hertford refers to her son's supposed quarrel with the Prince, which was the subject of parodies of 'Roly Poly, Gammon and Spinach' or 'The Lovesick Frog', see Nos. 11842, 11843. For Grey's refusal to join the Ministry see No. 11855, &c. According to Auckland 'the purchase of Mr. Whitbread and of his "republican" friends' by the Home Seals, in a coalition with Wellesley had been mooted. 'H.M.C.', 'Dropmore MSS.' x. 193 f. The Duke of Norfolk and Moira refused (28 Feb.) the Garter lest it should be considered a bribe for deserting their friends; Moira accepted later. 'Corr. of George IV', 1938, i. 32-5. The pictures imply that the Regent retains only his less worthy friends; Hanger, a former boon-companion, see vols, vi, vii, viii, was imprisoned for debt in the King's Bench in 1798-9. McMahon is handsome and aquiline, quite unlike his caricature stereotype. The Prince (between Mrs. Fitzherbert and Mrs. Billington) sings the same air in No. 9840.
    Reid, No. 152. Cohn, No. 732.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 11860 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).  March 1812.  Hand-coloured etching


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

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA155830

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