- Museum number
Satirical pamphlet of 32 pages entitled: “The Acts of Adonis the Great King of Bull.” The pamphlet is a scurrilous life-history of George IV in Biblical language, ending with the prorogation of Parliament on 23 Nov.
1.In the frontispiece illustration, BM Satires 14020, he is depicted as a young man sitting on a high stool outside the Fleet Prison (for debtors). He wears a star, but is in rags. With deprecating melancholy he holds out an empty purse. At his feet are his feathers, antlers, dice and dice-box, a jockey cap and whip (cf. No. 7918, &c.), broken bottles, and three papers: 'Debts of Honor', 'Leakes Pills' (as in BM Satires No. 8112, &c.), 'Plenipotentiary Ballad' (cf. BM Satires No. 13917). Behind him (left) is the prison wall, inscribed 'Fleet Market', with a barred window placarded 'Remember the Poor Debtors'. Facing him across a narrow alley is the wall of a pawnbroker's shop (right), indicated by the three balls. In the background are of creditors, holding out their bills. They are represented in a stereotypical manner as a butcher, a wine merchant, a bawd, her bill headed 'Wenches' (cf. BM Satires No. 8634), a Jew holding up a bill inscribed 'Money Lent', and a tailor brandishing shears. Below: "Get thee a Wife, and all will be well." 'Much ado about Nothing.' The publisher’s line is printed at the foot of the page: “London: Printed and Published by J. Turner, Aldersgate Street. Six pence.”
2. BM Satires 14021 [The Princess’ Departure.] The Regent, with the ass's ears of Midas, standing with his back to a doorway, bottle and glass in hand; he sings: "Oh, what pleasure will abound/ When my wife is laid in ground.—Midas" [see BM Satires No. 14236, &c.].A chamberlain (Hertford) holding a wand, bows obsequiously. Through the doorway the weeping Princess is seen approaching a boat which will take her to a man-of-war. Below: "Write me down an ass." ['Much Ado about Nothing', IV. ii.] See BM Satires No. 13797.
3. BM Satires 14022 [George IV on the Throne] The King, seated on the throne, registers delight at his accession, raising his wig. Ministers surround the dais of three steps, and Lord Hutchinson, in military uniform, grovels on his hands and knees. The latter is addressed by Castlereagh (incorrectly wearing a coronet) in whose pocket is a scourge (see BM Satires No. 14135); between them lies a large (green) bag (see BM Satires No. 13735, &c.) on which crawls a giant leech (Leach, see BM Satires No. 13740) wearing a barrister's wig. The others are (left to right) Wellington, with his back to the King, Eldon, Sidmouth, holding a medicine bottle, and addressing the King, Liverpool, sanctimonious and obsequious, and Canning, turning aside and biting his finger (see BM Satires No. 13737). Hutchinson suggests to the King a plot against Queen Caroline, see BM Satires No. 13730, &c.
4. BM Satires 14023. [George IV and Mrs Quentin.] The fat King, wearing a fool's cap and bells, sprawls on a sofa, his head supported by a pretty woman (right), a goblet in his left hand. On the wall behind her is a stag's head with a large Q in its mouth, to indicate Mrs. 'Q' or Quentin, see No. 13889. In the background are the roofs and spires of London, inscribed 'Land of Bull', tilting under a blast from the mouth of a monster poised menacingly above them; this is 'Taxation', with serpents for hair, and talons viciously extended. Below: "And is the Old Gentleman in love?" 'The Miser.'
c. December 1820
Wood-engraved vignette on titlepage to a letterpress pamphlet
- Production date
Height: 218 millimetres (approx. page size)
Width: 140 millimetres (approx. page size)
- Curator's comments
- Bound as part of "Political Tracts Volume 4." A compilation of 21 pamphlets often satirising George IV, his court and his ministers and referencing the Queen Caroline affair.
(Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
The three illustrations to the text are untitled, the explanatory titles in squared brackets are provided by M.Dorothy George.
The Prince, 'Gorge', marries Enilorac that his bills may be paid, see BM Satires No. 13792, &c. The 'Morning Post' had called the Regent an 'Adonis of loveliness' in 1812, cf. BM Satires Nos. 12749, 13565. The other woodcuts are BM Satires Nos. 14021-3.
The 8th edition with 'Wood Engravings by Austin' is advertised on BM Satires No. 14025.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: "Nero Vindicated" (The Acts of Adonis Great King of Bull is advertised in this pamphlet (See 1865, 1111,722.))
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- Prints and Drawings
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