- Museum number
- Object: The uproar house!!! | Satirist 1st June 1813.
Plate from the 'Satirist', xii. 489. A fantastic rendering of a riot at the 'Opera-house' (the King's Theatre in the Haymarket) on 1 May 1813. The stage stretches across the design, to which the heads and shoulders of the orchestra form a base, the musicians hurrying to the left in wild confusion. In the upper part of the design two figures float almost horizontally, hand in hand, supported on wings, and on a substantial cloud which rises like smoke from the stage, forming a background. The woman has butterfly wings, and a winged infant flies towards her; she looks up. The man (Didelot) who has feathered wings, looks down, stretching out his left arm towards a danseuse who stands gracefully at the front of the stage looking up. He says: "Ma Vife take great fly! Hey diddle! high Didel-ot Vy not take a fly? You vell paid for all." She answers with right arm defiantly raised: "No! I'll be dam if I take a fly!!! I'll be de Angelle no longer—nor any what oder ting till I are payed." 'Angelle' is in large letters and probably denotes Angiolini, one of the performers. She wears diaphanous quasi-classical draperies with seemingly bare legs and Roman sandals. Her loosely curling hair hangs to the thigh. A pendant to this figure is a stately woman in profile to the left, with heavy draperies and a spiky crown. She looks up towards a rectangular cage in the upper left corner of the design, where a bird with a human profile looks down at her. The cage is decorated with a heavy pair of shackles and a crown to show that it is the King's Bench Prison. She extends her arms gracefully, saying, "De Taileur Bird in yondere caige confine / To me sing de note of Sorrow." The bird (William Taylor) says: "I am quite tired of perching on this Bench! I wish they'd let me fly too!!!" Between the two women, Coates, dressed as Lothario, see No. 11769, rushes forward, both arms raised, exclaiming: "Ladies and Gentlemen! where's the use of our going a rioting?" He wears his feathered hat with a jewelled star, and the hilt of his sword is in the form of a cock.
On the left, ladies of the ballet or the chorus are rushing off the stage to the left, one on the extreme left, partly cut off by the margin, is being embraced by a fop in an opera-hat, another falls over a bulky man who lies prostrate. Amoretti with butterfly wings are tumbling or flying through the air, much alarmed. On the right a fashionably dressed man wearing an opera-hat confronts with clenched fists a group of foot-guards with fixed bayonets, who advance from the right, where they are in shadow, with the folds of a curtain above their heads. One elegantly dressed man has fallen head first into the orchestra. The musicians on the left are carrying off large music-books, one open. The others are lettered respectively: 'La Fille Sauvage'; 'Il Matrimonio par [?] Sassnio, Mozart'; '[P]ucitta' [Puccitta, 1778-1861]; 'Boudicca'; 'La Charmante Hongr[o]ise'. A man carries off a cello on his shoulders. The figures in the centre are brilliantly lit, those at the side are in shadow.
1 June 1813
- Production date
Height: 325 millimetres
Width: 421 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
Taylor, Manager of the King's Theatre, was insolvent. After he lost his seat in Parliament, in Oct. 1812, he was unable to appear at the theatre for fear of arrest. See also 'Waters' v. 'Taylor' in Chancery, 4 Nov., 24 Dec. 1813, 15 'Vesey' 10. Catalani, see No. 12132, &c., refused to sing till the debt due to her was paid, and on 1 May an attempt to perform the opera 'Enrico IV' without her caused a riot started by the fashionables admitted behind the scenes; colleagues in the pit joined in with calls for the Manager. A deputy explained that he could not appear 'on account of his present situation', and begged that the ballet might be allowed to proceed. Police officers ordered the eight sentinels behind the scenes, who always had fixed bayonets, to clear the stage, which they vainly tried to do. The orchestra escaped early in the fray 'with the whole of their music books'. When all thoughts of the resumption of the ballet were over Coates appeared and made an absurd speech: 'Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great misfortune ... to be deprived of the talents of Madama "Catalani", but it is of no use for us to "go a rioting".' The riot was followed by an order from the Lord Chamberlain forbidding persons to go behind the scenes. 'Examiner', 9 May 1813 (pp. 297 f., 303 f.). The interrupted ballet seems to be Didelot's 'Psyche et l'Amour', 1809, in which he used his invention of wires for enabling dancers to simulate aerial flight. C. W. Beaumont, 'Bibl. of Dancing', 1929, p. 61 f. For Didelot and his wife Mme Rose see Nos. 8008, 8891, &c. He was ballet-master at the King's Theatre, where his son, of about thirteen, and Vestris (see No. 10516) were also appearing. The 'Scourge', vi. 50-3. Catalani had refused to sing the part of Boadicea (in the 'new serious opera' of that name, 1813). 'Satirist', xii. 492. For Taylor see Nos. 8010, 10969, and index.
Impression on pink paper not folded, showing that it was issued separately.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number