- Museum number
- Object: Amusement at Vienna, alias Harmony at Congress, ie paying the pipers.
Plate from the 'Scourge', ix. 81. The Powers are dancing on a large 'Map of the Continet' [sic] spread on the floor. Castlereagh (right), just off the map, hands out guineas to the musicians. He is in court dress, and in his pocket are papers: 'The Irish Lilt' and 'State Papers'. He has a large sack of coins inscribed 'Fidlers Subsidy', and hands to the delighted leader, the violinist, a shovelful of money, saying, "Just arrived to pay your emminet [sic] service! you have kept us all in Harmony, and when we have done here I shall require your skill for the same purpose at our Uproar House [Opera, cf. No. 12133, i.e. the Commons] in London." The man answers: "Ah! de Guinea! I like de guinea, I fiddle for ever for de guinea!" The flautist just behind says: "I like de guinea too! Shovel some in here. I pipe so long as he fiddle." The next man flourishes his trumpet, saying, "Sar you pay de Trompette Sar." A Frenchman holds up a French horn, exclaiming, "Eh de French Horn Monr." The last musician holds up a bassoon. Just behind Castlereagh stands John Bull (right), in top-boots and holding a riding-whip. His hat is under his arm and in his hand he holds a crown topped by the White Horse of Hanover. He glares menacingly at the British Plenipotentiary, saying, "So! So! this is the way sbstance [sic] is given for Shadows! this is all I am to have in return, its a Tinsel bauble, zounds! I could lay my whip on the shoulders of fiddlers, Pipers, and - zounds I can't keep my Temper."
The three dancers (left) are the Russian bear (Alexander) who stands between the double-headed Austrian eagle and the Prussian eagle, taking a wing of each. All wear ribbons, and all dance with lifted paw or claw, trampling on the map. Alexander dances on 'Poland', Austria on 'Saxony', Prussia on 'Italy', showing that the artist has reversed the eagles symbolizing these countries. Alexander says: "Well Cousins I think we have got this Country Dance pretty perfect—wee'l try it once more, while our friend is paying the piper—Now! hands round, lead down into Poland cross over into Saxony, and right and left in Italy— wont that do!!!" On the extreme left, and off the map, Talleyrand, with a clubfoot and grossly ugly, talks to a very fat man wearing a ribbon and star (? the King of Würtemberg), who says: "Mais Monsr Tallyran Ces Anglas hav great deal Monies dey pay every ting!" Talleyrand answers: "Ah Oui you cajole Joh Bull he pay what you like!" In the foreground (left) are books and papers. An open music-book is 'A Set of New Country Dances Composed for the use of Congress'; the tune is 'Cajoling'. Other books are 'Waltz's', '[Fan]dangos', and 'Jigs'. Papers are: 'A New Russian [?] Dance', and 'A New Pas de Trois performed by the - '. Behind are spectators, three being ladies.
1 February 1815
- Production date
Height: 246 millimetres
Width: 347 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
See No. 12453, &c. Castlereagh pays the piper but fails to call the tune. John Bull is angry that Britain's share in the spoils of costly war should be merely the elevation of Hanover to the status of a Kingdom. The lavish payments are retrospective or assumed: subsidies were involved in the so-called Secret Treaty of 3 Jan., a defensive alliance between Austria, France, and Britain, but this was unknown to the artist. For the balls at Vienna cf. No. 12500.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number