- Museum number
Object: The march of Silenus.
Series: Political Sketches
No. 521. A man in the character of Silenus (Lord Brougham), holding a small broom in his right hand, riding an ass, lead by a satyr (John Arthur Roebuck), supported by two satyrs (Joseph Hume on the far side, Henry Warburton in foreground); at left, a cupid playing a small double-barrelled trumpet into the ears of a man lying on the ground (Lord Glenelg), in front of a sculptured bust on a pedestal (Daniel O'Connell), covered in garlands by a man standing at left (Lord Russell); in foreground at right, a satyr blowing a horn (John Temple Leader); at far right, a man holding up an urn lettered with 'Ballot' (Daniel Whittle Harvey), and the man next to him holding a banner lettered with 'Pension List' (George Grote). 1 March 1838
- Production date
Height: 281 millimetres (approximately)
Width: 384 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Identifications are taken from the "Illustrative Key ..." of 1841, but 'A Key to the Political Sketches of H.B. Nos. 501-600' (undated) identifies the satyr leading the ass represents Mr Roebuck, and the one blowing the horn Mr Leader rather than vice versa; this appears to be a correct identification.
Text from 'An Illustrative Key to the Political Sketches of H.B.', London 1841:
SILENUS,-the foster-father and pedagogue of Bacchus, represented like a little flat-nosed, bald, fat, tunbellied old drunken fellow, riding on an ass; and yet for all this outward deformity, accounted the god of abstruse mysteries and knowledge.
Lempriere gives nearly the same account of him, but calls him only a demi-god. He relates also how he was once found by some peasants in Phrygia, after he had lost his way, and could not follow Bacchus, and how the peasants led him to King Midas, who received him with great attention. And he concludes the account by saying that he was often introduced speaking with all the gravity of a philosopher, concerning the formation of the world, and the nature of things.
What resemblance exists between Silenus, as above described, and Lord Brougham, let every one who reads and sees, judge for himself. In person there is certainly none whatever, but on the contrary his Lordship is the very opposite of a "little flat-nosed, bald, fat, tunbellied old man," - Nor is there the slightest foundation for charging him with a predilection for the beverage of the Jolly God. See No. CCCXXXIV.) It is probable that this sketch is meant to exhibit his progress towards the palace of Midas, when found by the peasants in Phrygia. With his rod flourished above his head, he sustains the character of the pedagogue, but if he is intoxicated, it is only with triumph. His ass is led by his friend, Mr. Leader, and he is supported by Mr. Hume on his right, and Mr. Warburton on his left, both so liberally supplied with ears, that the identical animal is fain to lay down his, for very modesty. As suitable attendants in such a procession, carrying suitable emblems, Mr. Grote raises an urn, on which is inscribed "Ballot," and Mr. D. W. Harvey bears aloft a banner with the words "Pension List" written thereon. The energetic little Satyr, blowing the horn, is the satirical Mr. Roebuck, once M.P. for Bath. The other figures have no immediate connection with the procession. Lord Glenelg, on the ground in soft repose, appears as likely to have lost his way as Silenus; but that little long-haired Cupid, who is sounding in his ears something which looks like the drone of a Scotch bagpipe, will find himself very much mistaken if he expects that when he has waked his Lordship, he will be able to lead him just where he pleases. That broad-faced Terminus, that casts such a droll leer at the Demi-god, cannot be any other than Mr. O'Connell, and Lord John Russell is employed in the humble office of bedecking him with a garland of flowers, (query of rhetoric).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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