- Museum number
- Object: Portrait of Archbishop Laud and Mr. Henry Burton
Satire on Laud who stands vomiting books, his head supported by Henry Burton.. 10 January 1645
- Production date
Height: 277 millimetres
Width: 176 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain 1603-1689', BM 1998, cat. 98)
This ferocious satire shows Archbishop Laud and his enemy Henry Burton (1578-1648), the puritan divine who continually preached against bishops and in particular against Laud's 'Popish' innovations. In 1636 he was arrested at Laud's instigation, and, with William Prynne and John Bastwick, was condemned to have both ears cut off. He was incarcerated in solitary confinement and only released at the end of 1640, when he and Prynne returned in triumph to London. Laud was arrested in December, and committed to the Tower on 1 March 1641. His trial only began in March 1644, and he was executed on 10 January 1645 at the age of 72.
In the print Burton is shown with his ear bleeding, while Laud vomits up a sequence of books and pamphlets, either written by him ('Canons and Constitutions', 'An order of the Star Chamber') or by his allies ('Sunday no Sabbath' by Dr Pocklington). 'Tobacco' refers to Laud's involvement in the profit from the tobacco monopoly. The verses below are put in the mouths of the two men, as is the couplet emerging from their mouths.
Stephens (under BMSat 177) noted the correspondence of the wording on the print with that in a tract, 'The Bishop's Potion, or a Dialogue betweene the Bishop of Canterburie and his Phisitian, wherin he desireth the Doctor to have a care of his Bodie, and to preserve him from being let blood in the neck, when the signe is in Taurus', published in March 1641, but nevertheless thought that the print was issued in 1645. It is more likely that it was part of the intense anti-Laudian propaganda of 1641. Laud himself complained of libels and ballads 'sung up and down the streets ... as full of falsehood as gall', and of 'base pictures of me, putting me into a cage and fastening me to a post by a chain at my shoulder and the like. And divers of these libels made men sport in taverns and ale-houses, where too many were as drunk with malice as with the liquor they sucked in' (Hugh Trevor Roper, 'Archbishop Laud', 1940, p.412). The pictures he referred to are BMSat 173 and 174, the former an engraving by William Marshall (Hind III 120.63), the latter a woodcut on the title of a pamphlet. The catalogue of satires in the British Museum includes many other prints against Laud from this year and from 1644. Most are woodcuts illustrating pamphlets, but this engraving is too large for a pamphlet and must have been a single-sheet print.
The London executioner was Gregory Brandon, who was succeeded in office by his son Richard. They were colloquially referred to as 'Gregory' and 'Young Gregorie', which explains the lines at the top: 'Great was surnam'd Gregorie of Rome, Our Little by Gregorie comes short home'. Laud had affected the airs of Pope Gregory the Great; he is about to be shortened by a head by Little Gregory. There may also be a reference to the affair of the church of St Gregory besides St Paul's, which, to the outrage of many Londoners, was demolished on Laud's prompting to improve the look of the cathedral.
See also Helen Pierce 'Unseemly Pictures: Graphic Satire and Politics in Early Modern England', New Haven and London, 2008, pp.120-122. Pierce draws attention to the imagery of this print and the content of a contemporary playlet 'A New Play Called Canterburie and his Change of Diot'.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000 Jan-Mar, Ipswich, Christchurch Mansion, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 May-Jul, Bristol, City Mus and AG, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 Oct-Dec, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000/1 Dec-Feb, Banff, Duff House, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2001 Feb-May, Cardiff, National Mus, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number