- Museum number
- Object: The regents harmonica or-monopoly a catch for 21 voices with a royal base.
In a large concert-room, which is partly a music-shop, the Regent sits playing a 'cello; at his feet is a paper: 'Proposals for Six Charity Concerts'. Facing him stands an elderly 'cit', a John Bull (left), who listens delightedly; he wears a hat and rests his hands on his stick. The Regent says: "There Sir is one of the finest toned Instruments, I ever touched, and our own making. Nobody makes Instruments like us. That Humbug fiddle is out of Tune." The 'cit' answers "Charming." Behind the Regent are Bloomfield playing a flute, and a man wearing clerical bands playing a violin. Behind them (right) is a counter on which are two piles of songs 'For Sale cheap'; one is 'Bold Flinty Rock', the other 'Beautiful Maid'. Behind the counter a man supports on his shoulders a musician holding out a violin, and declaiming with extended arms: "This will do, and Sir give me leave to say, No Scholar of ours shall ever use any Music or Instruments but our own, What do you think of that eh? & I am a Director, what do you think of that eh?" Two fashionably dressed ladies in the foreground (right) address the Regent. One kneels, extending her arms dramatically, saying: "Indeed if you will Engage us we will not only buy all our Music and Instruments of you, but make our Scholars do the same." The other, identified as Miss Stephens [A. de R. xviii. 56], the vocalist and actress (1794-1882): "Indeed we will!" A piano is on the extreme right, behind this stands Braham holding a piece of music and extending an arm to disgruntled performers who are hurrying from the room, saying: "Fly not yet." He wears a furred and braided coat. Three of those departing say respectively: "We are off"; "You had better open a Cook Shop next and sell Calves heads and Cow heels"; "I'll lend you no more 4.000.s C-ts." The music stacked behind them is inscribed 'Detached Peices'.
On the left Lord Eldon and Chief Justice Abbott, both in wig and gown, stand together. Eldon, who holds a document inscribed 'Chancery', the mace, and the Purse of the Great Seal, says: "Since our Master has taken to this Concern all our Business is Suspended." Abbott answers: "Suspended, why I have here a list of 21 fellows who ought to be Suspended." He holds documents inscribed 'Old Bailey'. A man standing behind them says, looking at the Regent: "What then you intend to ruin all the Composers, Music Sellers, and Instrument makers do you? & this is a specimen of your correctness is it? 36 blunders in 9 pages of one Peice. Cossac Song above 30 errors. Dramatic Air worse 2d do worse still." On the extreme left is Yarmouth's smiling profile; he says: "I'll bet a Crown to One and Twenty pence, against the Hazard of being blown up by the Gas." Music on the shelves behind them is inscribed: 'the Y—m—ih Waltz'; 'Jack Ketch set to Mus[ic]'. Behind the Regent: 'New Peices'; 'Rogues March'; 'Royal Airs'. Behind the Director: 'Catches Glees, Flats and Sharps'. Over the fire-place is a large mirror surmounted by the Regent's coronet and feathers. In the foreground (left) is a kettle-drum. Below the design is engraved in four columns: 'The Regents Harmonic Institution—A new Song to the Tune of a Cobler there was—The English are a Nation of Shop-keepers French Opinion.
No more let V—t—t [Vansittart] embarrass his mind
For ways or for means new expedients to find
To ways very mean may his dignity drop
Now his gracious P— R— has opened a Shop
derry down ——
The Regents Harmonic, the great one and Twenty
Must strike with dismay Preston, Golding [Goulding] Clementi
But heavy taxed subjects forget follies past
And rejoice that an honest Trade's ta'en up at last
derry down ——
How Volumes will teem, & how charming to play'em
Composed by S—a—l, Ay—t—n, B—t—e, V—g—n, N—b—d & Br—m
All Classical those but for taste low and poor
They'll Mozarts old Sonata reprint by the Score
How pleasant t'will be by the Royal alliance
At once to set Teachers & Trade at defiance
By a new Bank restriction [see No. 13198, &c.] to make poor Rogues Swing
Who shall Notes (save the Regents) play, Whissle or Sing
derry down ——
Only look at the firm with the true Counter grin
All bowing & smiling, pray Ladies walk in
While gracefully pleasing and Royally mellow
His Highness will show off a new Violincell [sic]
See R-—e—s, N—te, & C—m—r, all making joint cause
With your K—y—ts your Cr—ths with W—th S—e and H—ws
While Br—m with Beautiful Maids find the Stock
And they feather their Nests from his Cold flinty Rock
Let Princes live Nob'ly, let Fiddlers still play
Nor fail to remember, each Dog has his day
And may all Composers, (who can) compose more
And may, live and let live, be their Maxim in score
- Production date
Height: 302 millimetres
Width: 400 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
A satire on the Royal Harmonic Institution, an offshoot of the Philharmonic Society for which Nash had just built the palatial New Argyll Rooms in Regent Street. Twenty-one of the principal professors of music in London formed an association for giving concerts and for publishing the best music in the best manner at a moderate profit. Grove, 'Dict. of Music'. As patron, the Regent (King since 29 Jan.) is associated with these commercial activities which were criticized: 'We wish that the society could have kept itself unequivocally distinct from every thing like monopoly or the controul of others.' 'Examiner', 5 Mar. 1820. The three chief music-publishers of the day show dismay. The composers (allowing for engraver's errors) are: Sir George Smart (1776-1867), William Ayrton (1777-1856), John Beale (b. c. 1796), Thomas Vaughan (1782-1843). 'Mozart's old Sonata' is his Piano Sonata in A (Köchel 331), numerous editions of which were published in England. The other musicians are Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838), Charles Neate (1784-1877), Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), William Knyvett (1779-1856) and his brother Charles (1773-1852), William Crotch (1775-1847), see No. 13036, Thomas Welsh (c. 1780-1848), John Bernard Sale (1779-1856), William Hawes (1785-1846). All were connected with the Philharmonic Society. For Braham's popular song 'The Beautiful Maid' cf. No. 11840. Abbott refers to the Regent's notorious delays in dealing with the lists of those to be hanged or reprieved; see (for March 1820) 'Diary of Henry Hobhouse', 1947, p. 17.
Cohn, No. 1894.
Impression in Douglas Collection: 'By I. R. Cruikshank and Parts by me, G. Ck.'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number