Collection online

satirical print / print

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Satire on the Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, 1761, with a scene in front of the Fleet Prison where numerous people, chiefly released debtors and their creditors, stand in the street. They include a ballad singer holding a sheet lettered, "A scheme for Amending the Act of Insolvency", a lawyer, a Fleet parson marrying a "Captain" and a woman apparently introduced by an older woman (a bawd), a small boy who picks the bridegroom's pocket to the amusement of a shoe-black, an elderly bearded man on two sticks, a tall man wearing ragged clothes who stands hand on hip gesturing with a walking stick, a Quaker, a distraught man in rags who addresses the portly gaoler, and on the extreme right an older man addressing two others. Beside the gaol is a tavern with the sign of the Cock. There are traces of speech balloons which have been removed in this state.


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1763 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 204 millimetres (trimmed)
    • Width: 300 millimetres (trimmed to image)
    • Height: 169 millimetres (image)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered below the image with five verses of four lines each, beginning 'Here You see de motley Group-a' with the refrain 'Doodle doodle doe.' and 'Publish'd according to Act of Parliament, by Obadiah Pay-all near the Fleet Prison, and Sold by the Printsellers of London and Westminster.'
        Inscribed (erroneously) by Hawkins "2 Sep 1743"
  • Curator's comments

    Stephens assumed that this print was related to the Act for the Discharge of Insolvent Debtors, September 1743, but its style and the costumes worn are clearly from the 1760s. It must relate to the Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, 1761, which allowed for the freeing of those who were in prison for debt on the day of George III's accession to the throne, 25 October 1760.
    The later date accords with the stylistic attribution to Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale; the ragged child pick-pocket and the strongly-marked facial types of the gaoler and the man beside him echo the style of figures in other satires by O'Neale. A flock of birds in the sky was a common feature of O'Neale's porcelain painting.
    The verses refer to "purl" sold at the Cock which is defined by the OED as "an alcoholic drink made by infusing wormwood or other bitter herbs in ale or beer. Later also: hot beer mixed with gin, and sometimes also with ginger and sugar, often drunk early in the day"


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 2586 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Discharge of Insolvent Debtors, September 2, 1743. Description to follow.  Etching


Discharge of Insolvent Debtors, September 2, 1743. Description to follow. Etching

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA198365

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