- Museum number
- Object: The eruption of the mountain,-or-the horrors of the "bocca del inferno,"-with the head of the protector Saint Januaris carried in procession by Cardinal Archeveque of the Lazaroni.
Vesuvius in eruption ejects an inverted cone of flame, while streams of flaming lava pour down its sides and have already surrounded 'Flanders' and 'Holland' (both indicated by windmills (left)). Another stream has almost reached London, which is directly in front of the mountain and is represented by St. Paul's and the gateway of St. James's Palace. In order to avert the calamity a ramshackle procession advances in the foreground from the right. Sheridan, as a cardinal, walks in profile to the left, holding up the head of Fox in both hands. His hat has the crown of a bonnet-rouge. His tattered robes are held up by two train-bearers, the diminutive M. A. Taylor and Lord Derby; their rents reveal a bare thigh and ill-gartered stockings over bare feet. Beside Sheridan walks a dog with a human profile, Grafton, as in BMSat 8457. [Identified by Wright and Evans as General Fox, who was serving with distinction in Flanders.] In front of Sheridan walks Lauderdale, carrying bell, book ('Lauderdale's Jests', a paper emerging from his pocket), and candle (a conspirator's lantern). Behind (and towering above) the two train-bearers are the Duke of Norfolk holding up his cap of 'Libertas' on his staff of hereditary Earl-Marshal, and Lord Stanhope holding two bundles of flaming matches. Their followers on the extreme right are indicated by caps, spears, and a tricolour flag inscribed 'Vive la Repub[lique]'. Heavy clouds cover the sky, from it fall stones or lava upon 'Vienna' and 'Berlin'. A thunderbolt descends upon 'Rome', which is in flames. All the sansculottes are literally without breeches and all have bonnets-rouges. They appear more ready to welcome the catastrophe than anxious to avert it. In the coloured impression the flame and lava from Vesuvius and the robes of Sheridan are tricolour. 25 July 1794
Hand-coloured etching and aquatint
- Production date
Height: 322 millimetres
Width: 377 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
The head of St. Januarius is impotent to avert the effect of the eruption of the Mountain, the extremists of the Convention (cf. allegorical design by Litz, 'Le Triomphe de la Montague', reprod. Dayot, 'Rév. fr.', p. 213).
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 177; Wright and Evans, No. 114. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2010 July-Oct, Compton Verney, Volcano
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number