- Museum number
- Object: The Solemn Mock Procession of the Pope, Cardinalls, Jesuits, Fryers &c. through the City of London, November the 17th, 1679
A broadside on the Popish Plot, with an engraving showing three lines of a procession ending, at the top, in Fleet Street with an effigy of the Pope being pushed on to a bonfire in front of Temple Bar surrounded by jubilant crowds. The procession winds its way across two other levels led by a group of whifflers with flaming torches clearing the way, followed by a bellman crying "Remember Justice Godfrey", then by a horseman dressed as a Jesuit supporting an effigy of Sir Edmund Berry Godrey, a Roman Catholic priest offering indulgences for sale, another priest carrying a large cross, groups of friars and monks, Jesuits with bloody daggers, a group of musicians playing trumpets and trombones, bishops, cardinals, the "pope's physician" holding a urinal (intended for Sir George Wakeman) and finally an effigy of the pope enthroned, two small boys holding flags with a cross and four daggers in front of him, a crown at his feet and the devil whispering in his ear, on a platform propelled aloft by men whose feet can be glimpsed beneath drapery at the side. Engraved inscription and title, and with letterpress with lengthy explanatory description of the event in four columns including verses mocking Cardinal Howard. (London, Newman and Lee: 1680)
- Production date
Height: 278 millimetres
Height: 435 millimetres
Width: 486 millimetres (plate)
Width: 486 millimetres (sheet)
- Curator's comments
- For another impression, see 1868-8-8-3365. For a broadside with the same plate and letterpress on the 1680 procession, see 1849-3-15-69.
(Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.197)
The solemn mock processions, held on the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession on 17 November over the three years from 1679-81, were carefully staged by the Whigs as part of their campaign to weaken the Tories and exclude James from the succession. The day had been marked by bonfires and burnings of the Pope in effigy since the early 1670's, but the event of 1679 was on a completely different scale. It must have cost the Whigs a very large sum, which was raised through subscriptions from the Party and by secret contributions from the French ambassador, Barillon, whose constant aim was to ensure that the King and Parliament were always at loggerheads (George p.46).
Church bells awoke London at 3am. After fourteen hours of revelry, the procession itself began at 5pm, with the now dark city illuminated by fires and torches. It threaded its way through the streets of the City, past an estimated 500,000 spectators. The bulk of the crowd gathered at the end of the route, at the Whig headquarters at the Green Ribbon Club at the King's Head Tavern near Temple Bar, by the statue of Queen Elizabeth, where wine and beer were available free to anyone proclaiming their abhorrence of Popery. The print shows how apprentices cleared the way for an effigy of Justice Godfrey held by one of his murderers dressed as a Jesuit, who was followed by a procession of figures dressed in the habits of various Catholic orders, with the Pope himself at the end accompanied by the devil. At the end of the procession (top left) the dummy was thrown onto a pyre. (See S.Williams, 'The Pope-burning processions of 1679, 1680 and 1681', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, XXI 1958, pp.104-17.)
This elaborate and well-engraved print was published in January 1680 as a commemoration and follow-up to the procession itself, as is shown by a long advertisement for it in the 'Domestic Intellegencer' for 9 January which gives the price as 6d. The letterpress of the broadsheet gives two addresses 'at the King's Arms in the Poultry and at the Feathers in Lumbard Street near the Post Office'. The first is of Dorman Newman, the second is is of Samuel Lee, who also published the broadsheet of the 1680 procession. A later advertisement in the 'Mercurius Civicus' for 3 April 1680 gives the name of yet another publisher, Jonathan Wilkins at the Star in Cheapside. Although his name is not given, the design can be attributed with some confidence to Francis Barlow, who is known to have designed other anti-Papal prints. The engraver remains unidentified.
For the Procession of 1680, another engraved broadsheet was produced by the same team (BMSat 1085). It shows the series of floats that were prepared with pageants of Popish devilry, and the design can be attributed with equal confidence to Barlow. The text implies that the print was sold during the procession itself, and an unillustrated pamphlet, 'The solemn mock-procession', which advertises this print, was a product of the same propaganda machine (Williams p.106).
Underneath the names of the three publishers is a note 'There will be no other true representation of this procession but this.' This did not stop a rival engraving (BMSat 1084) being published by John Oliver in collaboration with two other publishers; George (p.53 n.2) very plausibly attributes it to Stephen College. Luttrell's annotation on his impression (now in the British Museum) shows that Oliver's print came out on 1 December, only a fortnight after the procession - an indication of how quickly a plate could be designed and engraved when necessary.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
BM 1998, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', cat. 197
2020 4 Feb-19 Apr, London, Tate Britain, British Baroque: Power and Illusion
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Popish Plot 1679
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased through Mr. Evans at the Stowe sale, 5 March 1849, lot 1078
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number