- Museum number
Satirical pamphlet of 27 Pages entitled "The Queen and her Pawns against the King and his Pieces or, the Royal Checkmate."
The folded illustration, at the beginning of the pamphlet BM Satires 13946 depicts: a scene in the House of Lords, the foreground being filled by a fantastic game of chess. Gifford (left) and Brougham (right) play on a large chess-board supported on the heads of three witnesses against the Queen: Rastelli (?), Demont, and Majocchi. Copley watches behind Gifford's chair; both register consternation. Denman leans on Brougham's chair; both smile. The King, as a Chinese mandarin at Q.R. 4 is in check to the Queen (Q.R. 2), who stands beside Alderman Wood, her 'chief pawn'; both are whole length portraits. At the back of the board are two knights (men on horseback): ' Sir Exoff' (Gifford, so styled from the ex-officio Informations of the Attorney-General, see BM Satires No. 11717), and 'Birch' (Brougham). In the centre of the board stand five tiny men, the Queen's pawns, surrounding a woman in white (the Queen, who thus appears twice). The only pieces represented as chessmen are castles with the heads of Castlereagh and Wellington and two bishops, Canterbury and Exeter. Gifford has lost all his pawns: they are Italian witnesses who lie on the ground, broken, by Brougham's chair.
Behind, the benches converge in perspective on the throne; Eldon, seated on the Woolsack, registers dismay. Peers, crowded on the ministerial benches (left) are alarmed. Those opposite are fewer: some are mildly pleased, others indifferent.
The opposite page is lettered with the title and subtitle with further text below:
"A Poem with a plate By Philip Playfair, Esq of The Inner Temple."
With the quotation:
"The hour of danger must arrive in all its horrors, and then those boastful Ministers, spite of all their confidence, all their manoeuvres, shall be forced to hide their heads; they have not, my Lords, a move left: they are CHECK-MATED"- Lord Chatham's Speech to the House of Lords, 1775."
Beneath which the publisher''s line is printed;
London: Printed and Published by W.Benbow, 269, Strand, 1820.
The poem is prefaced with a satirical inscription dedicated to the Right Honourable George Canning.
Etched folded frontispiece and letterpress pamphlet
c. October-November 1820
- Production date
Height: 182 millimetres
Width: 242 millimetres
- 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 2."' Number 2 of 10 volumes of 'Political Tracts' A compilation of satirical and political pamphlets published circa 1819-1822. The contents of this volume mainly concern the Queen Caroline affair and satirise the Prince Regent, subsequently George IV, his court and ministers.
The King is checkmated by the discredit of the Italian witnesses, see BM Satires No. 13762. The Queen wins because protected by her pawns (the public); the King has no pawns, only pieces. Manners Sutton (Canterbury) was a strong supporter of the Bill; Pelham (Exeter) did not speak, but was notoriously eager for lucrative office, and was Clerk of the Closet to the King; his pending translation to Lincoln is mentioned, see BM Satires No. 13984, &c. The verses end with a quotation from Sir W. Jones's 'Caissa':
"No place remains, he sees his certain fate
"And yields his throne to ruin and Check Mate!!"
See No. 13825, This satire appears in BM Satires No. 14030.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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