- Museum number
- Object: European race for a distance Anno Dom. MDCCXXXX.
Satire on the position of the European powers at the outbreak of the War of Jenkins' Ear at the end of 1739, Walpole having reacted finally to political pressure. A variety of animals and riders representing different countries advance in front of a line of pedestals lettered with the names of the continents, Europe, reclining at the foot of her pedestal holding up a ship representing maritime supremacy, Asia seated on a camel holding a bow and arrow, Africa, with elephant's ears and trunk as a headdress, seated on a lion, America seated on an alligator.In the lead is Lord Chancellor Hardwicke riding on a lion led by his mace-bearer suggesting that he supported the war, followed by a Russian on a bear leading a Danish soldier on horseback who carries a flag lettered, "12000 for G. Britain" alluding to troops promised by the Kings of Denmark and Sweden following the marriage of Princess Louisa to Frederick V of Denmark; a Frenchman replaces the feathers in the wings of the Austrian eagle and a Dutchman stands smoking beside his pig which like its master wears a snail on its head indicating their slowness. A Swedish soldier sits on a drum behind the procession pulling on his boots; the ghost of Baron Sinclair (assassinated by the Russians in 1739) appears behind him, a paper lettered, "all's blown" protruding from his pocket alluding to the proposed treaty between Sweden and Turkey. Behind them, a British sailor sits on a distance post formed from the barrels of two cannon, holding a tankard in one hand and with the other lighting the fuse; a flag attached to the cannon is lettered "Pro patria mori". In the foreground to left, a Turkish elephant with an open music-book on its trunk stands in front of the French tent with the sign of a fox and the notice "nul Place pour les Anglois" above its entrance. A group of musicians play in front of the tent (France at this stage remaining outside of hostilities): Cardinal Fleury on the violin, Spain on the cello, the Queen of Spain, who hopes to give birth to Gibraltar, singing. To the right, her son Philip, Duke of Parma whispers in the ear of his bride, the French Princess Louise Élisabeth, offering her a crown; a wolf and a fox dance before the musicians, the fox holding the mask of a lion. In the left-hand corner, Robert Walpole angrily reads the "Declaration of War" stamping on Lord Gage's speech; a cat (Admiral Haddock) crouches at his feet observing a mouse (the Spanish fleet) peeping out of a hole labelled "Cadiz"; to the right is a cradle, holding a map of Great Britain, that is rocked by a string attached to Fleury's foot, and an Englishman carrying a heavy barrel of gold coins, labelled "Spanh Gun Powder". In the foreground, centre, a monkey fires the British cannon blowing out the stopper and releasing the greyhound of the King's Messenger (see "Heat" II) . In the foreground to right, Britannia, fully armed, gestures with her sword towards a distant fountain signifying the rise of British military might; at her feet a Spaniard kneels offering a paper lettered "Chart Blanch"; a Frenchman stands beside her holding a paper lettered, "Ie vous pri [..] pardone" pointing towards a Gallic cock pecking at its own image in a looking-glass; beside the cock lies an anchor and the letters, "[V]ernon". In the background stands the newly opened Foundling Hospital in front of which boys are drilling. In the sky, to right, three hands, King, Lords and Commons, clasp a ribbon lettered, "Agreed", and a French devil, with a fleur-de-lis on his hip. Title and three lines of engraved text below on either side of a emblem, placed so as to obscure a fleur-de-lis, consisting of a garter lettered "Hinc Absunto Tenebrae" surrounding an irradiated head. 26 February 1740
- Production date
Height: 266 millimetres (cropped)
Width: 382 millimetres (cropped)
- Curator's comments
- The description draws on a pamphlet entitled "An Explanation of the First, Second and Third Heats of the European Race", 1740 (British Library, 101.g.27). For the series of four "Heats" dating 1737-40, see BM Satires 2333.
The print was advertised in the Daily, 18 March 1740, referring to piracies of the series by Edward Ryland
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number