- Museum number
- Object: The appearance of an apparition.
Heading to a broadside in three columns. Below the title: 'To James Sympson, of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, an elderly Broad-cloth Weaver, commanding him to do strange Things in Pall Mall,... To which is added The Woodpecker Travestie; or the Tax-gatherer Knocking....' A lean grotesque man (left) sits in a hooded arm-chair by the fireside, addressing with raised forefinger the weaver, who stands facing him, wearing his shirt with an old flannel petticoat (his wife's) round his neck. The grate is empty. Tea-things and a bottle are on the chimney-piece. The text relates that the ghost ordered him to go to Carlton House and fix a paper inscribed 'Retrenchment' on the wall of the Regent's closet, to which he would miraculously be admitted. The ghost tells the weaver's wife that 'the people are perishing for lack of bread [see No. 12779, &c.], while sinecurists and pensioners are wallowing in abundance'. There are allusions to a discarded Treasury Clerk of £50 a year who had died of starvation (cf. No. 12786) and to Lord Arden's pension (sic) of £38,566 (cf. No. 12781). At Carlton House Sympson finds only 'a pair of stays, and a bottle of noyeau—dragons with tails [cf. No. 12749], and the heads of a divorce [see No. 12028]—a French clock and some Roman fiddle strings [emblem of Nero]'. He affixed the word 'Retrenchment', and learnt that when the Regent, Castlereagh, George Rose, Mr. Croker (names not given in full) entered they were upset and Lord Eldon was sent for; one of the gold-sticks tore down the offensive placard, and the party became 'more determined than ever to pursue their plans of expenditure...'. The second of three verses of 'The Woodpecker...':
And here, in Pall Mall, near the Park, I exclaim'd,
With a 'B—m' oh! how big, and how gay to the eye!
And a 'Yacht', down at Deptford, new gilt and be-famed,
What a strange mode of life!—and I groan'd out a sigh—
Whilst the shops are half shut and we scarce hear a sound,
But the Tax-gath'rers knocking whilst going their dull round!
22 Aug. 1816
Hand-coloured etching and letterpress
- Production date
Height: 446 millimetres
Width: 285 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
A companion broadside to Nos. 12799, 12804. For the Regent's extravagance see No. 12747, &c.; for his yacht, No. 12804, &c.
Reid, No. 2815. Cohn, No. 892.
Date from Cohn.
The image is printed on the same sheet as the letterpress. It occupies only the top third of the page.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number