- Museum number
Political pamphlet in letterpress with wood engraved illustrations consisting of 19 pages published after the opening of the “trial'” of Queen Caroline on 17 August 1820.
A cardboard "toy" version of the matrimonial ladder is included within the pamphlet.
An additional three page satire entitled ‘The Joss and his folly’ is included at the end of this pamphlet (description below).
Lettered in Bold Type: 'THE QUEEN'S MATRIMONIAL LADDER' with additional text below:
"A National Toy with Fourteen Step Scenes and Illustrations in Verse with Eighteen Other cuts. By the Author of "The Political House that Jack Built"
A quotation from "Her Majesty's Answer to the Norwich Address" is printed below the title:
"The question is not merely whether the Queen shall have her rights, but whether the rights of any individual of the kingdom shall be free from violation."
Below the title page illustration further lettering reads:
"Second Edition. London: Printed by and For William Hone, Ludgate Hill, 1820. The Pamphlet and Toy Together One Shilling."
The "Toy" refers to "The Queen's Matrimonial Ladder" [BM Satires 13808], a stiff cardboard ladder which echoes the form of the title illustration, sold with the pamphlet.
The illustrations are accompanied by quotations in a smaller typeface as well as titles in bold lettering which reference stages on "the matrimonial ladder" (see description of illustration 1) and also act as subtitles within the main text.
The main text of the pamphlet is written in verse reminiscent of Hone's earlier publication "The Political House that Jack Built."
1. Lettered with the quotation "Here is a Gentleman, and a friend of mine!" from "Measure for Measure." [BM Satires 13790]
The Queen sits with folded arms on the top step or hinge, inscribed 'Remigration', of a double ladder, looking down at the King (left) who has fallen painfully on his back from the lowest rung but one. These rungs have inscriptions reading upwards from the right to the summit, and thence downwards to the ground. Each word is repeated as the title of the following cuts by G. Cruikshank, (see BM Satires 13791-805 and Reid, 2916-29), and again on the rungs of the 'Toy' (see BM Satires 13808.) The broken step from which the King falls is 'Coronation' (see BM Satires 13769, the satire has an afterpiece, BM Satires 13806 and 13807.)
[BM Satires 13791.] An adaptation of BM Satires 8112 (1792), 'A Voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion', by James Gillray. Pose, background, and accessories are altered. The Prince, older and more debauched-looking, lolls back in a tipsy stupor, a broken wine-glass in his hand. All traces of good looks have disappeared, his stockings are ungartered, and a garter inscribed 'Honi soit' hangs loose (as in BM Satires 7298). On the table in place of food are two candles flaring from their sockets. In place of wall and window is a three-leaved screen, symbolically decorated, and with a woman's hat suspended from it. On one panel a winged goat prances on a crag; above are the Prince's feathers. Next, a tipsy Silenus rides an ass, his arm round a naked woman. On the left three women dance hand in hand round the bust of a satyr; one is naked, and an imp is poised on her head. On the ground, besides bottles, dice, and cards, is the mask of a bearded satyr. The text begins: “In love, and in drink, and o'ertoppled by debt;”
[BM Satires 13792]. The Prince, covering his face with his hand, stands as a penitent before George III, holding out an empty purse. The King says: . . . "The People your debts have twice paid, And, to ask a third time, even Pitt is afraid; But he shall if you'll marry, and lead new life.” The inauspicious prelude to the Prince's marriage, see BM Satires 8487, 8610, etc.
[BM Satires 13793]. Princess Caroline of Brunswick steps from a gang-plank into a rowing-boat, 'The Hag of Jersey', where Lady Jersey stands to help her in, while pointing to a low cliff (left) on which the Prince waits for her. By the Prince stands Pitt, a large money-bag in each hand; behind are creditors holding long bills; behind them is a triumphal arch decorated with the Prince's feathers.
Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952: "Lady Jersey, notoriously the Prince's mistress (see BM Satires 8485), met the Princess at Greenwich, as her lady-in-waiting, in April 1795. Cf. BM Satires 13940."
[BM Satires 13794]. The Princess nurses her infant. On the wall above her head is a picture of the Devil chasing a naked woman. Through a French window (right) the Prince is seen walking between two women, an arm round each. Cf. BM Satires 8806 (1796).
[BM Satires 13795]. The Prince, 'like an old Watchman, with faults to conceal', stands in a watch-house denouncing his wife, who stands behind a rail, holding out a paper inscribed 'Defence', towards George III. The King sits in a hooded chair like the night-constable in a watch-house, looking up at her from the open pages of 'The Book'. The Prince wears over his own dress a watchman's coat, and has a lantern and rattle; a villainous pair, evidently the Douglases, see BM Satires 12026, &c., stand behind him, whispering into his ears. Three delinquents stand behind. A satire on the 'Delicate Investigation' of 1806; 'The Book' (containing a defence of the Princess, and the depositions against her) was prepared in 1807, but suppressed on the fall of the Talents Ministry. Various versions were published in 1813, see BM Satires 11990, &c., 13833. False charges by venal watchmen were a common theme, cf. BM Satires 5618. Reproduced, Jerrold, i. 93."
7. 'EXCULPATION' [BM Satires 13796] The Princess and George III stand arm-in-arm under a tree, looking with righteous indignation at the Prince and the Douglases who flee in terror into a squalid building inscribed 'Princes' Court' and symbolizing Carlton House. 'The Book', see BM Satires 13795, is tied to the Prince by a rope; the legs of a prostrate woman project from the doorway. On the ground is the watchman's lantern. (George III, after the Delicate Investigation, decided that she was no longer to be 'an Intimate in his Family . . .', Guttmacher, 'America's Last King', 1941, p. 351.)As in [BM Satires] 13834, the Princess's (voluntary) departure from England (Aug. 1814) is incorrectly associated with Princess Charlotte's attempt to see her mother, see [BM Satires] 12292, &c. Cf. Nos. 13919, 14021."
8. 'EMIGRATION' [BM Satires 13797]. The Princess runs weeping to the shore, waving farewell to Princess Charlotte who leans from the window of a small building where she is imprisoned. Its door is heavily padlocked, and a bishop (Salisbury) with a musket stands sentry. The Prince stands below the window brandishing a birch-rod at his daughter. Three viragoes, 'spies' and 'malignants', are chasing the Princess towards the sea.
9. 'REMIGRATION' [BM Satires 13798.] The Queen steers a small boat, rowed by a sailor, through huge waves towards the cliffs of Dover. A whale with the head of George IV swims towards her spouting great columns of water (as in BM Satires 11877) at the boat, while four smaller creatures swim menacingly towards it, with the heads of Sidmouth (left), Liverpool, with a spiked profile like a narwhal, Castlereagh, and Eldon. Despite attempts to 'bribe' her (see BM Satires 13730, &c.), she 'steers her own course'.
10. 'CONSTERNATION' [BM Satires 13799.] The King, unconscious, leans back stiffly in his chair of state, while Sidmouth in frantic alarm applies to his nose his clyster-pipe, inscribed 'Essence Bergam ...' Above his head, from a Chinese canopy with bells, dangles a disk inscribed '2/6' (symbol for half a crown, see BM Satires. 13826) . There is a large picture or tapestry: a she-lion roars towards an ass (George IV) and stags in full flight. Outside a wide doorway the Queen is seen approaching. Cf. BM Satires 13727, &c.
11. 'ACCUSATION' [BM Satires 13800.] The King, wearing a watchman's coat and hat, stands outside the door of a house, holding up on a pole a large bag inscribed 'Beware of the Report of a Bad House'. His lantern, in which is a leech, hangs from a nail. The Queen sits inside the open window holding out a torch inscribed 'Defence', setting fire to the bag. She leans on the sill and from her left hand dangles a small reticule on which is a grinning face looking sideways at the King: 'her "ridicule" (cf. No. 11874) at his "Report"!'. Behind her stand Brougham and Denman. Above: "- A Burning Shame!" A satire on the Green Bag (see [BM Satires] 13735) and on Leach, see [BM Satires] 13740. Warning placards were sometimes held outside brothels, cf. [BM Satires] 11246."
12. 'PUBLICATION' [BM Satires 13801]. George IV, masked and dressed as a comic Guy Faux, holding a dark lantern containing a leech (Leach) and a bundle of matches, is led by a lame and battered Cupid towards a doorway (right) within which is a huge (green) bag. From a window over the door the Queen looks out at him through a lorgnette. Above the door is a fire insurance plaque: 'Albion . Life . Assurance' [a company founded in 1805]. A beam of light descends upon the King from an eye in the upper left corner of the design. This encloses a tiny printing-press (as in BM Satires14168). “So, sees and shines, our Moral Sun, The Press, . . ./Sees the rat "Leech" turn towards Milan's walls, . . ./The King is:/ Fat, fifty-eight, and frisky, still a beau, . . ./ Creeping, like Guy Fawkes to blow up his wife,/ Whom, spurn'd in youth, he dogs through after-life . . ./ She owes her safety to a fearless Press :/ With all the freedom that it makes its own, . [The design is derived from the image of Guy Fawkes in BM Satires 41].
13. 'INDIGNATION' [BM Satires 13802]. The King, with closed eyes, sits huddled on a small throne, while a huge British Lion, with and angry roar, places one paw on a (green) bag, and another on two papers: 'Milan Commission' (see BM Satires 13755) and 'Secret Comm[ittee]'. Smoke puffs from the punctured bag (see BM Satires 13735).
14. 'CORONATION' [BM Satires 13803]. The King sits full-face on the throne, wearing coronation robes with a ruff; he holds a sceptre round which a leech (see BM Satires 13740) is coiled. Castlereagh (left) and Liverpool (right) crown him with a pear-shaped (green) bag (see BM Satires 13735). In the foreground stand (left) Sidmouth using his clyster-pipe as a musical instrument, and (right) Eldon, in Chancellor's wig and gown, blowing a large horn. On the steps of the throne, at the King's feet, sits a bloated little parson, reading from a large book: 'Common Prayer with Omissions'. For the Queen and the Liturgy see BM Satires 13661, &c.
15. 'DEGRADATION' [BM Satires 13804] A scene in church. George IV, wrapped in a sheet, does penance, standing on a stool. The congregation stare from two pews, behind which is the pulpit; a bishop preaches, with a minatory hand towards the culprit. Behind the King are tables of the Ten Commandments, on which the seventh, ninth, and tenth are inscribed.
16. Tailpiece 'THE END'
[BM Satires 13805]. George IV, wearing a night-cap and with one arm in a sling, lies on his back in a cat's-meat barrow, pushed by a winged boy, a degraded Cupid. Three cats, wearing coronets, look hungrily towards the barrow. A pencil study (in reverse) with studies for Nos. 13806-7 (1891,1117.1497). Binyon, i. 336 (199. c. 8/1497).
Wood-engraved illustrations to a letterpress pamphlet
BM Satires 13808. A card 'toy' version of the ladder is folded within the pamphlet. Each rung, with its title, forms the base of a tiny scene, with white figures on a black ground.
'Qualification—.' The Prince rollicks tipsily with bottle and glass, seated between two tables, one laden with food, the other with drink. 'Declaration' As a prodigal son (BM Satires No. 10283.) he kneels abjectly at the feet of George III, holding out an empty purse. 'Acceptation.' He kneels at the feet of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, making an impassioned declaration. 'Alteration—' The Princess sits neglected while her husband sits drinking with a woman. 'Imputation—' Prince and Princess face each other on two chairs. He leans angrily towards her, holding two fingers against his head to represent horns. 'Exculpation.' 'The Book' [see No. 13795] stands open on a pedestal; from it rays illuminate the seated Princess (left) while thunderbolts dart against the Prince, who lies on his back. 'Emigration—' The Regent's Bomb, see (BM Satires. 12799), fires a blast at the Princess, driving her weeping towards the shore where a boat is waiting. 'Remigration—' The Princess runs from her boat (left) towards Britannia who hastens to receive and protect her. 'Consternation' The King skips in absurd terror from a dignified Queen. 'Accusation' The Queen sits with folded arms, contemptuously watching the King who holds out to her a large (green) bag (see BM Satires 13735), on which are eyes, nose, and mouth. He advances timorously, prodded behind by the Devil. 'Publication' The Queen sits with an elbow resting on a printing-press (see BM Satires 13296), rays from which illuminate her. From its other side flashes dart towards the King, who hurries away covering his face with his hands; these are inscribed: 'Press, Chronicle, News, Times, Examiner, Traveller, Statesman, &c &c' [see No. 13963, &c.]. 'Indignation' Britannia, with her lion, and with levelled spear, faces the King who shrinks back in terror. 'Coronation—' A crown suspended by a cord. 'Degradation' The King, wearing a fool's cap, sits on a stool with bowed head, facing Britannia, seated by her lion. She holds out a birch-rod.
Wood-engraving printed on stiff paper, folded at centre to make a standing toy 'ladder'
An additional satirical verse regarding George IV, Queen Caroline and the Brighton Pavillion with two wood engraved illustrations is included at the end of the pamphlet. The title ‘THE JOSS AND HIS FOLLY’ with the subtitle ‘An Extract of an overland Dispatch’ is lettered below the first illustration with a quotation attributed to Byron: "I stare at it from out my casement, And ask for what is such a place meant." and the date July 29, 1820.
Illustration 1, BM Satires No. 13806, represents a teapot, decorated with a view of the Pavilion, on which two peacocks are perched, is set in a Rococo Chinoiserie border. On the lid squats a figure described as ‘Mandarin’ but resembling George IV in his facial features. Above his head is an extinguisher (cf. No. 14145) hanging from the claws of a dragon. Handle and spout are formed of a serpent "Panelling with [pastiches of] Chinese decorations forms a background."
Illustration 2, BM Satires 13807. 'he'll soon go out sailing.' George IV as a teapot (differing from that in No. 13806) stands astride on an ornate barge, formed of a monster with the scales of a dragon, an ass's head (as figurehead), and three large peacock's feathers (see No. 13299) as tail which curve above the teapot King. There is a sail supported on a mast up which coils a leech (see No. 13740). A Cupid seated on the feathers plies a pair of bellows, so filling the sail. Four others row heart-shaped paddles. The King smokes a pipe with a long tube formed of a serpent. There are other fantastic details."
Wood-engraved illustrations to a letterpress pamphlet
- Production date
Height: 20 millimetres (approx. compartment size of toy)
Height: 220 millimetres (approx. page size)
Height: 308 millimetres (whole toy)
Width: 50 millimetres (approx. compartment size of toy)
Width: 138 millimetres (approx. page size)
Width: 63 millimetres (whole toy)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
Bound as part of 'Political Tracts Volume 1.' A compilation of satirical and political pamphlets published circa 1819-1822, one of 10 volumes. For the twenty-second edition of this pamphlet, see 'Political Tracts Vol 9.' 1863,1114.171.
The pamphlet was issued for the opening of the Queen's 'trial' (17 Aug.): it is mentioned in the 'Examiner', 20 Aug.: 'Another of Mr. Hone's happy illustrations of public feeling has just appeared. . . .' The twelfth edition of 'Hone's National Toy' is advertised in the same issue: 'The most extensively embellished, and most rapidly selling production ever issued from the press... Orders from the country . . . will be punctually executed, and Placards for doors and shop-windows enclosed.' According to Hone it was written reluctantly, at the request of some of the Queen's chief partisans, and he was offered a heavy bribe to suppress it. Indictments against it and against BM Satires13844 brought by the Constitutional Association in 1821 were thrown out by the Grand Jury; they were thought to be a revenge for Hone's 'Slap at Slop', see BM Satires 14207, &c. Wickwar, 'Struggle for the Freedom of the Press', pp. 192 f. Sewell burns this cut in BM Satires 14221. BM Satires 13895 is a counter-stroke.
See also Patten, R-L, "George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art 1792-1835, 1992, pp 1691-186.
Pamphlet reissued 'Hone's Facetiæ', 1827. Hackwood, 'William Hone', 1912, pp. 223, 236-7. Reproduced, ibid., p. 361; Jerrold, i. 78.
The matrimonial ladder was a recognised format for depicting the stages of courtship and marriage. See George Cruikshank's illustration to Blewitt's "The Matrimonial Ladder" 1843 (1859 0316 804)
On the toy ladder:
A pencil study is in the Print Room (1891,1117.1498), different in every particular, and much less effective. The two first rungs are 'Admiration' and 'Flirtation'; the last 'Detestation' and 'Seperaton' [sic]. Binyon, i. 335 (199. c. 8/1498). There is in the V. & A. (Cc. 18 b) a tracing for the fourteen scenes of the ladder together with two tracings of drawings not used: the marriage and (?) a reconciliation.
Reproduced, 'Private Letters of Princess Lieven to Prince Metternich', 1937, p. 99.
On "The Joss and His Folly"
Pencil studies for the teapot, differing from the woodcut, are in the Print Room (1891,1117.1498). Binyon, i. 336 (199. c 8/1498).
Also a proof (India paper).
A paragraph on the sailing of the Royal Yacht from Brighton on 10 Sept. 1820 is headed "Teapot the Great, gone sailing." 'Examiner', 1824, p. 616.
- Not on display
- Associated names
Representation of: Caroline of Brunswick
Representation of: George IV, King of the United Kingdom
Representation of: George III, King of the United Kingdom
Representation of: Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey
Representation of: Princess Charlotte of Wales
Representation of: Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquess of Londonderry
Representation of: John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon
Representation of: Lady Charlotte Douglas
Representation of: Sir Major-General John Douglas
Representation of: John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury
Representation of: Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
Representation of: Bartolommeo Bergami
Representation of: Henry Peter, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
Representation of: Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman
Representation of: Sir John Leach
Associated with: Guy Fawkes
Representation of: William Pitt the Younger
Representation of: Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number