- Museum number
Object: Popish Plots and Treasons
Object: Thankful Remembrance of God's Mercie by G.C.
Broadside with an etching in the form of a monumental tablet with fourteen scenes and adjacent banners representing incidents in the reign of Elizabeth I and James I arranged in pairs on either side. The tablet is supported by an architectural base on which are four more scenes. In front is a woman representing the Church of England who holds up a cloth with the title while beneath her feet she crushes the devil, a monk, the pope and a cardinal's hat. On either side of the printed image are columns of explanatory verses in letterpress headed "Popish Plots and Treasons" and at the top is a heading, "The Pope's bull/In Nomine Domini incipit Omne Malum". The scenes are as follows:
1. "The Rebellion of Northu[mberland] & Westmo[rland]" (Durham, 1569). The two Earls kneel before a monk named Morton while behind the pope, borne aloft by soldiers, scatters relics and crosses; the adjoining banner shows the decapitation of the Earl of Northumberland and his troops running away in the background.
2. "The treacherous practise of Don Jo[hn] of Aust[ria]". Juan of Austria talking to Pius V; the adjoining banner shows him dying in a tent.
3. "Stucely encouraged by P[hilip] of Sp[ain] rayseth rebell[ion]". Sir Thomas Stukeley kneeling before Pope Gregory XIII and Philip II of Spain with an army in the background; the adjoining banner shows Stukeley lying dead on a battlefield.
4. "Desmonds bloody practise approved". The murder of Arthur Carter by Sir John Fitzgerald (brother of the Earl of Desmond), Henry Davells attempting to intervene; behind the bed-curtains a priest, Nicholas Sanders, holding a banner with the crucifixion, appears to be blessing the murder; troops in background; the adjoining banner shows a pikeman killing the Earl of Desmond; in the background, Sanders flees.
5. "Rebellion the effect of Monasteries". Two Jesuits, Parsons and Campion, standing before a monastery, one holding a papal licence; the adjoing banner shows Campion hanging from a gallows.
6. "Somerviles hast to kill the Queene". Elizabeth I seated beneath a canopy; behind, two guards prevent Somerville from attacking her; in the adjoining banner he strangles himself in prison.
7. "The Spa[nish] Embas[sador] thrust out of England". Coastal scene with Bernardino Mendoza, the Spanish Ambassador, and two other men about to embark on a small boat; in the foreground stands Francis Throckmorton holding two scrolls lettered "Popish noblemen" and "English havens" in reference to papers found in his possession; the adjoining banner shows the hanging of Francis Throckmorton.
8. "Torne papers blowne into the ship". A ship in full sail with William Creighton, a Jesuit, throwing torn papers overboard; in the adjoining banner Sir William Waad is piecing together papers that have blown back on to the ship.
9. "Parry not able to kill the Queene". Elizabeth I walking in a garden with William Parry who holds a knife in his right hand and a scroll lettered "Popes absolution" in the other; in the adjoining banner, Parry hangs from a gallows.
10. "Babington with his [ac]complices". Anthony Babington standing in a field with eight other conspirators; in the adjoining banner, the conspirators being hanged, drawn and quartered.
11. "Stafford clearing himselfe". William Stafford and the Baron de Chateauneuf, French ambassador, appearing before the privy council; the adjoining banner shows Chateauneuf about to board a ship to leave England.
12. "The Invincible Armado". Destruction of the Spanish Armada off the coast at Tilbury with wind blowing an English fireship into the crescent-shaped formation of Spanish ships; in the adjoining banner an ark floats.
13. "Lopas compounding to poyson the Queene". Roderigo Lopez, Elizabeth I's physician, approached by a Spanish or Portuguese nobleman, possibly Estevão Ferreira da Gama, who is attempting to persuade him to kill the queen; in the adjoing banner, Lopez hanging from a gallows.
14. "Tyrones false submission afterwards rebelling". Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, kneeling before the Earl of Essex, deputy lieutenant of Ireland, with an army in the background; on the adjoining banner, Tyrone runs away brandishing a bundle of rods.
15. "Watson seducing noblemen". William Watson, a Catholic priest, blesses a group of gentlemen involved in a plot against James I; in the adjoining banner, one of them, Sir Griffin Markham, is pardoned at the point of execution.
16. "The Powder Plot". Guy Fawkes approaching Westminster Hall is discovered by the Eye of Providence, a ray of light is inscribed "I see and smile" in the background is London Bridge with traitors' heads on spikes; the adjoining banner shows a burning bush.
[17.] "Deo Liberatori" An altar on which two hands hold up a flaming heart.
[18.] "Deo Reduci". A ship flying the Royal Standard approaching a shore, the Prince of Wales feathers on the foresail; a group of people welcoming the ship. 1625; this impression, 1678
Etching and letterpress
- Production date
Height: 547 millimetres (image plate)
Height: 567 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 540 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 323 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.97)
The subject of this large broadsheet is explained by the letterpress at the sides. It shows the 'Popish plots and treasons from the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, illustrated with emblems and explain'd in verse'. The sixteen verses are keyed to the sixteen numbered illustrations in which 'First are describ'd the cursed plots they laid, and on the side their wretched ends display'd'. Each scene shows one plot, while adjacent to it, on a flag, is the fate meeted out to that conspirator. The etched plate is signed 'Iic Inven.', and has the name of Danckertsz. as engraver and John Garrett as publisher.
This impression is a reprint which was advertised by Garrett in the Term Catalogue for June 1678 at the price of 6d plain and 1s. coloured. An impression of the first publication dated 1625 is in the Sutherland Collection in the Ashmolean Museum. This describes itself as the 'second' edition, evidently regarding the 1624 book (see below) as the first edition, and has Jenner's address with 'efformavit WPass' as well as 'Cornelis Danckertsz. sculp.'
The starting point of the complicated history of this print was an octavo book by George Carleton, Bishop of Chichester, published in 1624, which has sixteen chapters devoted to the sixteen plots. This was unillustrated apart from the titlepage, which was by Willem de Passe (Hind II 297.16; BM Satires 98) and bears the letters 'Iic inv.'. Carleton's book was a great success, and went through a number of editions very quickly.
This gave rise to a demand for an illustrated edition, of which two emerged. The earlier in 1625 was the broadside shown here, which was engraved by Dankertsz. in Amsterdam. It was entered in the Stationers register on 30 November 1624 by Miles Flesher, and the impression in Oxford bears his imprint 'Printed at London by M.F.1625'. The later edition in 1627 was a new reprint of the book with added plates. These were made by Frederik van Hulsen, a Frankfurt engraver of Dutch origins, who apparently came to London for a short time in 1627 (see Hind III 213). The relation of these two productions is of great interest.
Both illustrate the same scenes, show the same persons in the same settings, and have the same texts alongside them. But the compositions and positioning of the contents are so different as to preclude any possibility of one engraver influencing the other: Hulsen, for example, combined the fates of the plotters with the scene of their plot. The obvious explanation is that both men were given the same set of written instructions, from which they independently visualised the scenes. Danckertsz. based his design on a Dutch broadsheet of 1618, 't'Arminiaens Testament' (Harms IV 99), which uses the same pyramid of small scenes. The only common design element is the figure of Ecclesia Vera at the bottom centre, which is taken from the original 1624 titleplate. There are many examples in this period where the invention of a composition was originally done in words, not images. But this is the only case we know where two engravers worked independently from the same text.
The author of the instructions must have been the 'Iic' of the lettering. He was not Carleton, for the initials appear after the dedicatory poem on the frontispiece portrait of Carleton (Hind II pl.182a), and it would be very helpful if he could be identified. An extended discussion of these prints would also have to take into account the closely related engraving by Jan Barra of 1625, the 'Three Great Deliverances', Hind III 101.13, as well as the way that the imagery was brought back into play at the time of the Popish Plot in 1678.
(Supplementary note) The author has now been identified as Thomas Vicars - see comment to the other impression, 1868,0808.3354.
- Not on display
- Associated events
Associated Event: The Spanish Armada 1588
Associated Event: Babington Conspiracy 1585
Associated Event: The Gunpowder Plot 1605
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number