- Museum number
- Object: Coriolanus addressing the plebeians.
George IV (left), as Coriolanus, stands outside the east gate of Carlton House, addressing a mob with spears and banners (right). He wears a toga over Roman armour; his stout figure and bold bearing are in contrast with the lean, trembling Plebeians, who wear bonnets-rouges resembling fool's caps, with quasi-Roman tunics. The front row of the mob forms a semicircle facing the King, but flinching back in dismay. The more extreme, who are also ragged and furtive, are on the left. A cobbler, Preston, with a hammer in his belt, leans his folded arms on a staff. Next him is Watson, a pestle in one hand, clyster-pipe in the other. Thistlewood, with a knife in his belt, is indicated by a staff terminating in a thistle. Next, Carlile turns as if to run away; under his feet are a paper, 'Deist', and a book, 'Age of Reason'. Next him, and, unlike his companions, sturdy and defiant, though alarmed, is Cobbett, a large bone (see No. 13525, &c.) in each hand. Hunt, leaning on a (reversed) pike and timorously clutching Cobbett's shoulder, has a limp purse inscribed 'One Penny' hanging from his belt (see No. 13655, &c.). In front of him stands a tiny 'Black Dwarf with Wooler's features (see No. 12988, &c.). Major Cartwright, an aged man with flexed knees, supported on a stick, holds up a sword inscribed 'Universal Suffrage'. Two men hold a large club between them; one, Hobhouse, very short, puts his foot on a paper inscribed 'Trifling Mistake' [see No. 13501]; his tall companion is Burdett (see No. 13672). The two at the right end of the line are Alderman Waithman, linen-draper and M.P., clutching a paper inscribed 'Hell wide Measures' [cf. No. 14817 (22)], and Hone, who is stout, muscular, and (unlike the others) determined. He holds two heavy clubs, one inscribed 'Parody' [see No. 12899, &c.], the other 'Man in the Moon' [see No. 13508] and 'House that Jack Built' [see No. 13292]. In the second row and on the extreme right, behind Hone, is G. Cruikshank, in profile, holding a portfolio inscribed 'Caricature'. Behind Burdett stands a man in Highland dress, holding a sword, who is probably Kinnaird. The banners are appropriate to the men near them. By Watson and his party is one inscribed 'Blood & Plunder' [cf. No. 13001]. Behind Cobbett a skull (Tom Paine's, see No. 13525, &c.), wearing a bonnet rouge, surmounts a banner inscribed 'Revolution—Plunder'. Behind Cartwright, Thelwall, a gaunt fellow, holds a placard inscribed 'Champion—Thelwals Lectures'. Behind Kinnaird, Hobhouse, and Burdett (the Westminster group) is a banner topped by a laurel wreath inscribed 'Parliamentary Reform—Burdett for Ever!!' Behind Hone and Cruikshank a banner with a bonnet rouge is inscribed 'Liberty of the Press'. From the rear ranks, and between the two last banners, projects one (with bonnet rouge) inscribed 'Xaminer' and 'Chronicle', indicating Leigh Hunt and Perry (cf. No. 13207). Carlton House and the adjacent houses on the right (receding in perspective) are realistically drawn; on the screen is a trophy of Roman armour, &c., flanked by lion and unicorn. Below the title Coriolanus's words to the mutinous citizens, arranged as prose, beginning: "What would ye have ye Curs that like not Peace, nor War?" and ending ". . . you cry against the Noble Senate, who (under the Gods,) Keep you in awe, which else would feed on one another?"-['Coriolanus', I. 1. 173-93]. Below: '"Il se soutient droit et elevée [sic], son attitude est celle du commandement sa tete regarde le ciel et présente une face auguste sur la quelle est imprimée le caractere de sa dignité; l'image de l'ame y est peint par la physiononie [sic] l'excellence de sa nature perce a travers les organes materiels et anime d'un feu divin les traits de son visage, son port majetueux [sic] sa demarche ferme et hardie annonce sa Noblesse et son rang." vide Buffon.'
29 February 1820.
- Production date
Height: 215 millimetres
Width: 285 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
A serious attack on the Radicals is combined with praise of the King. They range from revolutionaries to defenders of the freedom of the Press, with whom Cruikshank associates himself. Probably designed before the Cato Street arrests (see No. 13707, &c.): Thistlewood is associated with those tried with him in 1817, see No. 12887, including Watson, who was in prison. Thelwall, see vols. vii, viii, ix, after abandoning political agitation, returned to it in the revolutionary years after 1816; he bought the 'Champion', a Sunday paper, in 1818, in order to advocate Reform. For Carlile and Paine's works see Nos. 13274, 13550; he also published in weekly parts (1 Jan. 1819-1820) 'The Deist or Moral Philosopher'. Cf. also No. 14194.
Cruikshank's finished study in pen and ink, autographed 'Suggested by my friend John Sheringham, Drawn & Etched by me George Cruikshank' is in the B.M. There are studies for the King's head. On the reverse are studies for Hobhouse, Burdett, and others, 1891,1117.19 (Binyon, i. 284. &c. Pressmark 199.c.1/19).
Reid, No. 939. Cohn, No. 1017. A copy in Grego, 'Elections', p. 338.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number