- Museum number
- Object: The fall of Phaeton- the blow up of the Whig club- or the majesty of the people.
Fox as Phaeton falls head first from his chariot, smitten by thunderbolts issuing from the mouth of George III (left), whose head is surrounded by the rays of the sun. The chariot is drawn by three animals and by a winged dragon inscribed 'Ambition', from whose mouth issues a barbed fang and the words 'Aut Cæzar aut Nullus' (cf. BMSat 6380, &c). The animals are (1) 'Duplicity', with a wolf's head concealed by a mask with human features; it says: "Whats Duplicity, Why, Coalesing with the Man that 'deserved a Halter"" (North, see BMSat 6187, &c). (2) Patriotism, a similar beast holding in its mouth a staff supporting a cap of Liberty from which drop coins; it says: "Whats Patriotism? a Pension to oppose the Government" (cf. BMSat 8331, &c). (3) 'Whiggism' with two human profiles, one scowling, the other saying, with a cynical smile: "Whats Whiggism? why, that the Prince of Wales has a right to be regent without the consent of the People" (see BMSat 7381, &c). Behind the chariot stand three footmen with tags on their shoulders, who are being dislodged by the King's thunderbolts. They are the Duke of Norfolk, Erskine, and Sheridan. The thunderbolts are inscribed (four times) 'Maidstone Oaths' (see BMSat 9245, &c.) and 'Majesty of the People' (see BMSats 9168, 9205, &c).
Below the clouds (right) and on a small scale is a view of the 'Shakespeare Tavern', on fire; members escape from a ground-floor window. Above, the interior of a room on the first floor is seen, a dinner of the Whig Club interrupted by the conflagration, the members fleeing in confusion. Among them is a stout parson, probably Dr. Parr. 17 November 1798
- Production date
Height: 343 millimetres
Width: 399 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
One of many prints on the discomfiture of the Opposition, see BMSat 9248, &c. An indication of the lasting opprobrium resulting from the Coalition, cf. BMSat 8099 and W. A. Miles, 'Corr. on the French Revolution', ii. 342 (letter of 26 Jan. 1806).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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