- Museum number
Object: Ulysses and the Syrens.
Series: Political Sketches
No. 628. A man in the character of Ulysses (Sir Robert Peel), tied to the mast by men standing around him on boat in shape of a swan (on his right, Charles Law, on his left, Sir Edward Sugden); two men seated in the stern at far left (Lord Stanley and Sir James Graham); at right, three men kneeling among reeds, in the characters of syrens, the one at left playing the flute (Lord Russell), the one at centre the lyre (Daniel O'Connell), and the one at right singing (Thomas Wakley). 3 March 1840
- Production date
Height: 287 millimetres
Width: 389 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from 'An Illustrative Key to the Political Sketches of H.B.', London 1844:
The classical scholar will fully appreciate the clever application of a well known incident in the Odyssey, to the circumstances in which Sir Robert Peel was placed by the question of Privilege.
Sir Robert Peel, the Ulysses of the Conservative party, is in the act of encountering one of the dangers, of which his prototype was warned by Circe, when he commenced his voyage home, namely the sweet and enchanting voices of the Syrens. These dangerous ladies appear in the likenesses of Mr. Wakley (somewhat redundant in his personal attractions), Mr. O'Connell luting, and Lord John Russell fluting. Assuming the spell to be as potent as the sketch, would lead us to infer, something must be allowed for the effect of distance and water carriage. Perhaps the performance, when it reaches the ear, like "Italy's music come over the sea," may sound like Webb's beautiful glee,
"Ah what can equal here below
The life of us three brothers."
But if so, it only serves to shew the greatness of the illusion, for not only is it impossible for the three performers to unite in harmony, but they are actually performing different pieces: Lord John Russell pipes, "Come live with me and be my love," - Mr. O'Connell twangs, "The Groves of Blarney," - and Mr. Wakley practices, "Ah! How Sophia." Ulysses is cleared touched by the force of the spell: and it is with difficulty that Sir Edward Sugden on his left, and the Hon. Charles Law on his right, are able to restrain him; "heaping brand on brand," according to the injunctions of the goddess. In the stern of the boat is Lord Stanley looking stern; and Sir James Graham is putting up his ample shoulders to assist those, who, to master Sir Robert are tying him to the mast.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Ulysses
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number