Collection online

How to get unmarried, - ay, there's the rub!

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • How to get unmarried, - ay, there's the rub!
  • Description

    The King and Queen are tied together back to back, by a ribbon inscribed 'The Matrimonial Knot. Keep thee only.. unto her, so long as ye both shall live.' The Queen (left), richly dressed and with three feathers in her hair, stands looking towards Justice, who takes her right hand. She says, her hand on her breast, "Nothing but death shall e'er divorce my dignities" ['Henry VIII', III. i]. Justice stands among clouds; she says: "Your exemplary conduct is worthy imitation, as during your husband's ill treatment every effort you exerted to reclaim him, which failing, the world must approve your seeking refuge in the wholesome and protecting laws of your country.—I will be your guide." Brougham stands on the extreme left, poorly characterized but holding a rolled document inscribed 'To Mr Brougham'; he says: "Let slanderous tounges [sic] say what they will they are "Trifles light as air" ['Othello', III. iii] for "She is every inch a Queen." [Adapted from 'Lear', IV. vi]."
    The King leans against the bond that joins them, straining hard to break it; he puts his hands on the shoulders of Castlereagh who holds him round the waist, the first of a chain of three who pull hard to help him to break loose. The King: "Heigho! how to get un-married; thats the question! There is but little trouble in tying the knot, but your quizzes of the cloth draw it so d——nd tight, Pull away Derry, Pull away Deary Pull away Doctor." Sidmouth tugs at Lady Hertford (or Conyngham) whose arms are round Castlereagh. Castlereagh answers: "If we could entice that blind Lady from her, we might do some good." Sidmouth: "A long pull and a Strong pull and a pull alltogether."
    c. July 1820
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1820
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 237 millimetres
    • Width: 342 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title and text in image, and "Marks fect. / London Pubd by J.L.Marks No.2 Sandy's Row Bishopsgate. 1820".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
    A good representation of the popular view of the 'Queen's affair' after her return to England and before the 'trial'. Brougham, on 21 Feb., had said that the omissions of the Queen's name from the Liturgy or Acts of Council were 'trifles light as air'. 'Parl. Deb.' xli. 1626 (see No. 13661, &c.). Lady Hertford had been replaced by Lady Conyngham. The lady depicted resembles Lady Hertford (and also her successor); the populace were unaware of the change, see No. 13847. Advertised on No. 13829.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 13770 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Caricatures XII p.117)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


There is no image of this object, or there may be copyright restrictions

Image service:

Request new photography



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA180616

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help