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Frontispiece to 'Pyrotechnica Loyalana, Ignatian Fire-Works' suggesting the Jesuits were responsible for the Great Fire of London. In the centre, eight men, four dressed as Jesuits, surround a globe at which they throw hand-grenades; at the top, London in flames, a burning building from which a phoenix rises, Rome in flames; in front of London, groups of conspirators; to the right, the pope fans the Fire of London with a pair of bellows; below, a Jesuit assisted by another man, drags a barrel of gunpowder into a house, a Jesuit releases four foxes with firebrands tied to their tails, a man named Hubert holds a hand-grenade out to a Jesuit labelled "Pa.H." [perhaps for Pater Harcourt, see comment], a gallows behind them, Guy Faux entering the vault beneath Parliament holding his dark lantern. 1667
- Production date
Height: 183 millimetres
Width: 153 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Stephens describes the print used as the frontispiece to the volume in the British Library (Grenville 19581); the present description refers to a separated sheet int the British Museum which is damaged along the upper edge and may lack a title.
(Text from Malcolm Jones, www.bpi1700.org.uk, "Print of the Month", April 2007)
[The frontispiece] suggests that the Jesuits were responsible for the previous year's Great Fire of London (depicted at the top left of the composition), and two men, one of them a Jesuit, are shown taking flammable materials into a London house—opposite this scene, the familiar image of Fawkes about to enter the cellars of Parliament. An enthroned Pope fans the flames of the burning city with bellows, while a Jesuit priest with the legend ab igne natus [born of the fire] written on his back, punning on Loyola’s forename, releases yoked foxes with firebrands tied to their tails (Samson’s stratagem against the Philistines as recorded in Judges 15.4), and by pointing, links the house-burners with a man labelled Hubert (a simple-minded French Protestant watch-maker who falsely confessed to starting the fire), who is receiving a fire-bomb from another Jesuit priest with the initials P.H. [H. perhaps standing for Harcourt, P. being perhaps the abbreviation of a title, such as Provincial or Procurator, rather than a forename. William Waring ... was known in England as Harcourt, one of the Jesuits hanged at Tyburn on 20th June 1679, thanks to Oates’s allegations, was Procurator of the English province by 1671 [ODNB]. He has a walk-on post-mortem role as one of the late Sainted Traytors, in The dreadful apparition; or, the pope haunted with ghosts (1680), a broadside headed by an impressive engraving. ] The designer may have taken some of this imagery from Faithorne's far more accomplished print of Cromwell issued nine years previously (see 1848,0911.242).
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Pyrotechnica Loyalana, Ignatian Fire-Works. Or, the Fiery Jesuits Temper and Behavious. Being an Historical Compendium of the Rise, Increase, Doctrines, and Deeds of the Jesuits. By a Catholick-Christian (1667)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number