- Museum number
- Object: Strange's Case, Strangly Altered
Broadside satire against Sir Robert L'Estrange, with L'Estrange shown as a spotted dog, labelled "Towser" and "Crack-Fart", a noose around his neck, a cross, rosary and quill pen on his head, another cross dangling from his ear and a broom labelled "H B" (Henry Brome) tied to its tail. Other figures from left to right: a hangman sitting on the cross-beam of a gallows from which the dog has escaped; two clergymen commenting on L'Estrange; a flying devil who drives the dog away with a whip towards the figure of the Pope and the Duke of York; below letterpress text expanding the satire on L'Estrange as a dog, and eight verses commenting on the scene and referring to events of the period. (np, nd) October 1680
Engraving and letterpress
- Production date
Height: 198 millimetres
Height: 352 millimetres
Width: 397 millimetres (plate)
Width: 487 millimetres (sheet)
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.199)
The letterpress contains two texts, the first in prose, the second in verse 'explaining' the figures above. This impression is dated 26 October 1680, and is extensively annotated in a contemporary hand (not Luttrell's) with the explanation that the dog (towzer) represents L'Estrange, and the broom tied to its tail is Henry Brome, L'Estrange's 'bookeseller' (publisher). He eludes the hangman and deserts his patrons, the Pope and the Duke of York ('Mack'), urged on his way by the devil. The annotater shared College's views, and his comment reveals that he knew that L'Estrange was the author of The Committee [BM Satire 1080]: 'This touzer is Roger L'Estrange, that eminent invective against godliness & good men, by his pregnant saterick penn for the last 20 yeares, a zealous voucher of the Church of England, neare meets with his match in this figure, who was very ripe by figures of covinantors and all sorts of professors to scoff at that godliness which he was a stranger to.'
The author of this print was Stephen College, the 'Protestant joiner', who seems both to have designed and engraved it himself: a large bundle of prints and the drawing for one of them was found at his house. Other prints can be attributed to him on grounds of style, through information in L'Estrange's pamphlet of 1681, 'Notes upon Stephen College', and through evidence produced at College's trial (George p.53 n.2).
College used his contacts as a successful carpenter to become an intimate of many of the promoters of the idea of the Popish Plot, and became a prolific polemicist, inventing numerous ballads and prints as well as a vicious weapon which he called 'the protestant flail'. His willingness to incite violence led to his arrest for sedition in June 1681, and he was eventually convicted, hanged and quartered after a show trial in August.
This is the first of College's prints, and was made after L'Estrange's flight from London. He followed it in December by 'The contents (hats for caps) contented' (BMSat 1087) and in February 1681 by 'The Catholick Gamesters' (BMSat 1077). Most significant were two prints made during the meeting of the Oxford parliament. Luttrell annotated his copy of 'The Raree Show' of March 1681 with the note 'A most scandalous libel against the Government for which with other things Colledge was most justly executed' (not in BMSat; George pl.16). The second, of 21 March and known as 'Mack-Ninny' (BMSat 1110), was aimed against James as successor to the throne. A high point of College's trial was the production of a mysterious but treasonable picture of which he was said to have several in his house ('The arraignment, trial and condemnation of Stephen College', 1681, p.32). According to George, it is the only occasion that a print has featured in a trial for treason.
"Crack-Fart" was one of many insulting names given to L'Estrange; it appeared in Ralph Wallis's "Room for the Cobler of Gloucester and his Wife" (1668).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
BM 1998, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', cat. 199
2000 Jan-Mar, Ipswich, Christchurch Mansion, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 May-Jul, Bristol, City Mus and AG, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 Oct-Dec, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000/1 Dec-Feb, Banff, Duff House, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2001 Feb-May, Cardiff, National Mus, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number