- Museum number
Object: A dance round the May pole interrupted by a passing storm.
Object: Weighed in the balance and found wanting.
Object: Awful situation of the vessel of state
Object: The man wot spreads the libels
Object: Terrible slip "twixt the cup and the lips.
Object: The finish.
Object: Fashions small bonnets,
Object: The political Janus.
Object: One of the Birmingham union.
Object: Pouring oil upon the waters.
Object: A new song (Air "Now farewell my trim built werry")
Object: Good reasoning.
Object: Society for the diffusion of useful knowledge.
Object: Emigration of the surplice (surplus) population.
Object: Political jugglers exhibiting before the sovereigns of Europe.
Series: McLean's Monthly Sheet of Caricatures or the Looking Glass. No. 30.
Lithographic caricature magazine of four pages on two leaves, in the form of a (monthly) newspaper; illustrations as follows. 1 June 1832
A DANCE ROUND THE MAY POLE INTERRUPTED BY A PASSING STORM. (17111)
The maypole is a tall stout mast wreathed with garlands and placarded 'Reform', round which Grey and his Ministers have been dancing, while William IV, seated on a cask at its base, plays pipe and tabor. Gusts from the mouths of the 'winds', Wellington, Ellenborough, and Lyndhurst in the upper right corner make the dancers pause. These wear smocks tied with ribbons, and three of them are women in old-fashioned dress with quilted petticoats; Grey, and Brougham (a woman) are conspicuous. The latter steadies his hat and petticoat, bending to the storm; his cap-lappets, replacing his Chancellor's wig, stream in the wind. The others (left to right) are Holland (an old woman), Durham, and a woman with head concealed. Althorp, Russell. Seated on the ground playing a triangle is Lansdowne.
WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE AND FOUND WANTING. (17112)
A pair of scales containing Grey, holding out his 'Reform Bill', and Brougham in one (right), which outweighs the other, despite its overcrowding with anti-Reformers; this is because Grey's scale is held down by a hooked bar inscribed 'Times' projecting from the lower right corner of the design. In the left scale the Queen sits with her arms round the King, who turns gloomily from her. They are flanked by Gloucester and a bishop, probably Philipotts. In the centre is Wellington, wearing a plumed cocked hat; behind him are Ellenborough with his hair in curl-papers (cf. No. 17351), a fat woman (? Duchess of Kent), and the Duke of Cumberland. Three rats leap from this scale into the lower one, where Brougham waves his Chancellor's wig. (The crisis is over, see No. 17111, and the Reform Bill safe. During it The Times had given its powerful support to the cause, notably in full reports of the public meetings held all over the country. For the Queen see No. 17076, &c.)
AWFUL SITUATION OF THE VESSEL OF STATE (17113)
Below the title: 'amongst rocks and shallows from which the blessing of Heaven and the skill of the Pilot deliv'd her'. A storm-tossed man-of-war drives towards rocks on which are the features of (left) Eldon, Cumberland, and (?) Ellenborough, and (right) of Wellington. The Pilot is presumably Grey. See No. 17073.
The King, plainly dressed, rides (left to right) a grey horse with the head of Grey (as in No 17068). His hands are in his pocket, the reins on the horse's back. He says: 'Then take the reins and find the right way for I've lost it'. Cf. No. 17147.
THE MAN WOT SPREADS THE LIBELS (17115)
A well-dressed man walks (left to right) blowing a newsboy's horn, carrying a sheaf of 'The Times' and with a placard in his top-hat, 'The Times of this day'. From his mouth come the words 'Here's the most dreadfull Libels every word as spoken &c &c.'
TERRIBLE SLIP "TWIXT THE CUP AND THE LIPS. (17116)
A man staggers back, as a large ball knocks from his hand a goblet inscribed 'Office'. No portrait, apparently, but a typical place-hunter, whose hopes are shattered by Wellington's failure.
THE FINISH. (17117)
The aperture of a Punch and Judy show topped by the Royal Arms. Wellington, as Punch, leans against the corner of the box, timidly clasping a baton. His humped back is inscribed 'The Protest', see No. 17002, &c. Behind him (right) is the shadowy figure of the Devil, with the head of Grey, holding out a menacing pitchfork. Below the design are the showman's words: 'Here you see Mr Punch throw his child Protestant Ascendancy out of the window, knock on the head his wife's consistency &c. &c. &c'. (Wellington is blamed for inconsistency in passing Catholic Emancipation, cf. No. 15665, &c, and for accepting office in order to pass a Reform Bill, see Nos. 17073, 17148.)
FASHIONS SMALL BONNETS, (17377)
Below the title: 'from the sublime to the ridiculous'. An attractive young woman stands with her head turned in profile to the left. Her tiny bonnet and pinched waist accentuate the effect of widely extended puffs on short sleeves, and a bell-shaped skirt well above her ankles. Such bonnets were a reaction from the huge over-trimmed hats of recent years.
THE POLITICAL JANUS. (17118)
Wellington, half-length, wearing a fool's cap, stands in profile to the left, clasping a paper, 'The Protest' [see No. 17002, &c], in the right hand. He says: 'I say there's no need of Reform and I'll never consent to it'. His second profile is a mask of his own features attached to his forehead by a band inscribed 'Expediency'; from its lips come the words I will carry the Reform Bill small [sic] or anything else'. His left arm is behind his back with outstretched fingers. Above the left profile is a scroll inscribed 'Opposition', above the right profile one inscribed 'Office'. See No. 17117. Cf. No. 16036.
ONE OF THE BIRMINGHAM UNION. (17119)
A figure constructed of objects made in Birmingham. The body is an oblong tray on which is a cap of Liberty inscribed 'Reform' encircled by a wreath (cf. No. 13302). The head is a metal tea-pot, resting on the tray, the arms are candlesticks, the legs are candle-snuffers. Against the tray is a paper inscribed 'These Articles may be bought for the value of Half a Crown'.
POURING OIL UPON THE WATERS. (17120)
Three-quarter length portrait of the Duke of Cumberland in profile to the right, holding his hat. With a bland gesture he says: 'I trust noble lords will entertain the Bill with courtesy, I cannot bear to see anything so bearded'. (Cumberland spoke twice after the May crisis, deprecating factious opposition to the Reform Bill. Parl. Deb., 3rd s. xii. 1219, 1271 (22 May). Cf. No. 17079.)
A NEW SONG (AIR "NOW FAIRWELL MY TRIM BUILT WERRY") (17121)
A bishop sings dramatically as if on the stage; holding his shovel-hat he throws down his apron. His wig is on a wig-stand (left). Below the title: 'To Apron and to wig a stranger / To the House of L------ds I go / Wearing you is fraught with danger / Some paving stone might lay me low'. (One of many illustrations of the hatred incurred by the bishops for their opposition to Reform, see No. 16805, &c. (when they feared to wear episcopal dress). The air is from Dibdin's The Waterman, 1774.)
GOOD REASONING. (17122)
Three-quarter length portrait of the Duke of Gloucester (see No. 16737) wearing a top-hat. He stands directed to the left, right forefinger raised, left hand in his pocket, saying, 'What makes the starving people so clamorous for Reform is, the hope to get some of its Provisions!' Cf. No. 17015.
SOCIETY FOR THE DIFFUSION OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. (17123)
Street scene. On the extreme left a man knocks at a door. One hawker sells the 'Penny Magazine', crying, 'Penny Mag. Sir?'. Beside him another, more ragged, selling a gallows broadside, cries 'Last Dying Speech'. A ragged board-man carries a board headed 'Hot Joints'; a very tattered newsboy blows his horn. Behind, a bill-sticker pastes up a notice headed 'Reform'. Other overlapping bills are 'Sold, Benifit, [Ref]orm, Cheapest House'. See No. 17267, &c.
EMIGRATION OF THE SURPLICE (SURPLUS) POPULATION. (17124)
A boat, overladen with six fat bishops, is rowed by one overtaxed man towards a ship at anchor. Two similar boatloads are indicated. From a cliff (right) a tiny John Bull waves his hat, cheering the departure. (Many believed that the disestablishment of the Church must follow the Reform Bill, and that the hated bishops, see No. 16805, &c, would disappear from the House of Lords. See Halévy, Hist, of the English People, 1927, iii. 42-44, 134-43. For the emigration controversy cf. No. 15869.)
The King and Queen embrace, she taking a hasty stride towards him, to which he responds by kissing her neck. Through a window (right) Ministers are seen as if descending an outside staircase; they look in, concerned at what they see: Brougham and Durham are followed by Grey. (The supposed quarrel between the King and Queen, cf. No. 17076, &c, was without foundation in fact.)
POLITICAL JUGGLERS EXHIBITING BEFORE THE SOVEREIGNS OF EUROPE. (17126)
Grey (left), dressed as an Indian juggler, sits cross-legged on a dais; before him, supported on sticks, are three big balls of equal size inscribed respectively 'King, Lords, Commons'. His left hand hovers over the centre ball (see No. 16962). In the front row of the audience sit four sovereigns, concerned or suspicious; they seem to be (left to right) Francis I, Frederick William III, the Tsar, and Leopold. A fifth (? William I) is almost hidden behind the Tsar. Behind them stands William IV, seemingly well pleased. Between juggler and audience stands Talleyrand, as showman, cf. No. 16937, &c, leaning on his stick; he says: 'Ah oh you sal see him swallow de middle ball and ve vil persuade you it is no swallow not at all not von bit'. The horned and bewigged head of the Devil, i.e. Brougham, peers at Grey from behind a curtain. (An oddly cynical approach to the methods and consequences of Reform, with allusions to the Dutch-Belgian crisis, see No. 16766, &c.)
- Production date
Height: 417 millimetres (approx. page size)
Width: 292 millimetres (approx. page size)
- Curator's comments
- Notes to No. 17111:
The storm of the crisis (7 to 18 May) and the interregnum when Grey's Ministry was in abeyance (9 to 15 May) are over. The King is represented as more dismayed at the storm than the others; his position among the Whigs is inconsistent with fact and with most prints on the crisis, but cf. No. 17029; other prints in this 'Monthly Sheet' are more realistic.
Notes to No. 17115:
Lyndhurst, on 17 May, defending himself for his actions during the crisis (see Nos. 17030, 17102), denounced the Press 'which now reigns paramount throughout the land, unrestrained by Government. My Lords, I should be ashamed to be a Minister of the Crown one hour, and suffer the Times newspaper to go unprosecuted'. For saying this, being a judge, who might be called upon to try a libel action, he was attacked by the Attorney-General on 21 May. Parl. Deb., 3rd s. xii. 1000, 1153. For the title cf. No. 15731, &c.
Notes to No. 17119:
The Birmingham Political Union led by T. Attwood, see No. 16070, &c, had taken a great part in the Reform agitation, but during the crisis of May its influence with the Unions in London and elsewhere was exerted to prevent violence. Here it seems to be a revolutionary body, hostile to the monarchy. For figures so constructed cf. (e.g.) Nos. 11822, 14134.
Bound in a volume ("The Looking Glass, Vol. III") containing nos. 25 to 36 for 1832. Vols. I to VII (1830 to 1836) are kept at 298.d.12 to 18.
- Not on display
- Associated names
Associated with: Adelaide, Queen of William IV
Associated with: John Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl Spencer
Associated with: Henry Peter, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
Associated with: John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham
Associated with: John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon
Associated with: Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
Associated with: Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover
Associated with: Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Francis I, Emperor of Austria
Associated with: Frederick William III, King of Prussia
Associated with: Prince William Frederick, 2nd Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Associated with: Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Associated with: Henry Richard Fox Vassall, 3rd Baron Holland
Associated with: Victoria, Duchess of Kent
Associated with: Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne
Associated with: Leopold I, King of the Belgians
Associated with: John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst
Associated with: Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia
Associated with: Henry Phillpotts, Bishop of Exeter
Associated with: Lord John Russell (later John Russell, 1st Earl Russell of Kingston Russell)
Associated with: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Benevento
Associated with: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Associated with: William IV, King of the United Kingdom
Associated with: William I, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxemburg
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number