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Bob the Political Ballance Master

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Bob the Political Ballance Master
  • Description

    Satire on the failure of the committee enquiring into the conduct of Robert Walpole's administration and the prospect of a second enquiry. A forlorn Britannia sits on the ground near the shore with Trade prostrate on the ground, asleep on his pedlar's pack. A plank is balanced on Britannia's spear: at one end Justice sits lamenting, "I cant prevail", while at the other the hefty figure of Walpole, wearing his earl's coronet and holding large money bags labelled, "Treasury", "Exchequer" and "Sinking", hopes to outweigh her. Walpole calls to the devil flying above, "Oh Help the Faithfull Servant Bob", but the devil brandishes an axe, replying, "This thy due". At lower left, the Duke of Argyll approaches, sword drawn and trampling on "Court Favours" demanding "Just Vengeance for my Countrys Wrongs", and John Barnard in aldermanic robes holds a paper of "Instruction to the City members" crying "Our Liberty's destroy'd"; a sailor sits on the ground, his feet on a neglected bale of "Wool for Exportation" and his arms tied behind his back with a label lettered, "Secret Orders" (an allusion to the presumption that Admiral Haddock was secretly prevented by Walpole from taking action against the Spanish fleet). At top left, a tree is labelled, "Gangreen members must be lopt away/Lest nobler parts grow Tainted & decay". An anchor lies on the ground, to right, and a ship flounders at sea. Four lines of verse below.
    16 November 1742
    Etching and engraving


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1742
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 214 millimetres (trimmed?)
    • Width: 192 millimetres (trimmed?)
    • Height: 183 millimetres (image)
    • Width: 187 millimetres (image)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with captions in the image, the title above, continuing 'Gone throw his first Purgation and ready for the Second', four lines of verse below 'Th! Crafty Knaves may for a While defer ... Justice has Leaden Feet but Iron Claws' and 'Publish according to Act of Parliament Novemr. 16. 1742. And Sold at the Globe in Newgate Street.".
        Annotated in ink on the recto 'Argyle / Barnard / Haddock / Walpole / failure of Parliamentary Enquiry into Walpole ministry Nov. 1742.'.
  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 2576 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British Stephens series)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Description to follow.   16 November 1742  Etching and engraving


Description to follow. 16 November 1742 Etching and engraving

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA198355

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