- Museum number
- Object: The Whitehall pump
Lord North pumps water upon the prostrate figure of Britannia while he looks at her through his spy-glass. On the top of the tall pump is a head of George III in profile to the left adorned with a laurel wreath. Britannia holds her spear in her right hand, beneath her is her shield; she lies across a Red Indian brave, also prostrate, and holding a knife, who represents America. Beneath them on the ground are a number of documents. Behind North (left) is a group of ministerialists who are approving spectators. Two judges, each holding a document, appear to be Apsley, the Lord Chancellor, and Mansfield. Behind Mansfield stands Sandwich. Three others are less prominent and cannot be identified. Above their heads is an open window from which look Lord Holland, with a fox's head, and a companion wearing a ribbon who may be intended for Bute. On the right. two men hold out their hands in protest. One is Wilkes; his companion, who wears a long gown and bands, may be intended for Lord Camden.
The accompanying text explains the "Vision". North, under Scottish influence, is pumping upon "that daft unruly body Mistress Britannia . . . with her child America, and all her boasted rattles and gew-gaws such as Magna Charta, Coronation Oaths, Bill of Rights, Charters of Companies and Corporations, Remonstrances, Petitions . . .". "All the miscreants and tools of State" rejoice at the sight. Round the head on the pump, though surrounded with fogs, could be read the words,
"His brows thick fogs instead of glories grace,
And lambent dulness plays around his face." 1 May 1774
- Production date
Height: 122 millimetres
Width: 162 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
From the 'Westminster Magazine', ii. 168.
The vision was inspired by "the Dissentions of our Colonies and the Fever of the Mother Country". It is an attack on the Bills against Massachusetts on account of the Boston Tea Party, see BMSat 5226, which were discussed between 1 Mar. and 25 Apr. 'Parl. Hist.', xvii. 1163 ff.; see 'Corr. of George III', ed. Fortescue, iii. 80 ff. See also BMSat 5228, &c.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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