- Museum number
- Object: A sett of blocks for Hogarth's wigs
Satire on Lord Bute and his government, and on William Hogarth; for references within the print, see Curator's Comment.
In the centre, (B) Bute as a wig block balanced on (A) a staff "from a highland Fir of vast height Length and thickness", standing on the "Treasure Box"; one leg is a jack-boot, a bag-pipe is suspended suggestively from his waist; he wears an order of knighthood (the collar decorated with asses, the badge bearing a thistle, crossed keys and the motto, "Knock & it shall be Open'd", and riband lettered, "The Landtax lower'd a new peace by the Bedford undertaker/Transposed for the Bagpipe according to the Scots measure") and a jointed scale lettered, "Architectonic Sector"; his Scotch bonnet is surmounted by (C) a bespectacled owl holding a thistle in its teeth.
On the left, is a block attached to Bute by a string, representing the Duke of Bedford, negotiator for peace with France, with a hole to show that his head is empty; leaning against it is a mattress of "Either Down" and a horse-whip resting on a paper lettered "Lichfield Races"; other blocks represent, "Noddys hewn out of the Cocoa Tree", an ink pot and quill is hung from one (perhaps intended as a journalist) and a shuttlecock balances on top of the other (Charles Townshend).
On the right, a block represents Francis Dashwood, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Another, hung about with kitchen equipment Lord Talbot, Lord High Steward of the Household, a saucepan on his head lettered, "These useless Now", referring to his economies in the royal kitchen (condemned in The North Briton, XII, 12 August 1762); a dog with "St. James's [Palace]" on its collar drools hungrily. In the background is a picture partly obscured by a curtain; it is lettered, "Designed for the City, see North Briton XIX and shows the devil trampling on a female personification of the City of London and breaking wind in the face of the figure of Liberty as he turns to stab her; leaning against the picture is a a volume lettered "Manuscript / [James] Ralph against Pitt, Liberty & the City by the Instigation of a Noble [crossed out] Scot Lord and Co."
Outside the etched frame, on the left, hangs a scroll lettered, "To be Lett for any Succeeding Lord Mayors Day the Bruisers Comp[an]y as Ministerial Whifflers"; below is "The Scotch Faction", i.e., pro-Bute journalists Tobias Smollett (the "Briton") and Arthur Murphy (the "Auditor") represented by blocks held on a forked stick by the devil who is clad in tartan and reading a paper on "Scot[c]h reasons for givin up the Havannah Because keeping it Would pay the National Debt and thats Contra to my Scheming"; lettering added vertically along the edge of the print in the second state, complains of the potential loss of Havana in the peace treaty.
On the right, lettering describes two other blocks, (H) Hogarth and (K) Joshua Kirby, the author of "Dr. Brook Taylor's Method of Perspective Made Easy" (1754), as a "Genus" cut in Hogarth's case from a Dutch Elm, "a Blasted Codling Tree" and a Medlar, and in Kirby's "cut out of a Crab Tree rotten at Heart". Mathematical instruments are attached to Kirby's block while Hogarth's has a large burin and paint brush, a palette lettered "Line of Buty" on which is drawn the outline of a boot, and a paper lettered, "The Times/A Grand Scheme for a new Academy the professors pension'd Before Hand"; an open book beneath the heads is lettered "Brook Taylors Inspetive or, Clearing into Obscurity by I.K./An Assay on the Beauty of Pannel Painting by W H"; in the third state a gallows is added from which is suspended a letter "written from the Cocoa Tree".
Beneath is, on the left, a key and, on the right, a note reading, "N.B. there are a pair of Heads not Blocks which are to be heard of at the Townsend of Halifax .... that we cannot exhibit in this plate, nor Severall others whom we have the Honour to be acquainted with None of Mr Hogarths wigs fitting."; in the centre, is a mock heraldic device, labelled in the second state, "The Scot Patriot Arms", comprising a boot in a lozenge surrounded by clenched fists, and supported by "Nail'em" (a blacksmith) and "Flogg'em" (a one-eyed coach man) with the motto, "By blows and Knocks/We'll prove this peace is Orthodox". 1762-63
- Production date
Height: 232 millimetres
Width: 383 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The print appears to date from late October 1762 when peace negotiations were taking place: there is a reference to the North Briton, No.XIX, which was published on 9 October 1762, but apparently the fate of Havana had not yet been settled. Peace preliminaries were signed on 3 November and the treaty was signed on 10 February 1763.
The following notes are intended to explain some of the references within the print.
The title is an allusion to Hogarth's print, 'The five orders of perriwigs' (Paulson 1989, 209).
The Seven Years' War was largely funded from the Land Tax. The Duke of Bedford and other landowners were seen to want peace in order to reduce their taxes at the expense of the merchant classes who hoped to benefit from trading opportunities opened up by military campaigns.
Bedford was said to have been horsewhipped by Jacobite supporters in August 1747 at the Lichfield hunt (see BM Satires 2865).
Charles Townshend was Secretary at War from March 1761. He quarrelled frequently with Bute and eventually resigned in December 1762 although still supporting the Peace. He was notoriously unreliable; Richard Rigby (Bedford's intermediary with Bute during the negotiations) described him as 'that splendid shuttlecock, veers about with all these different gales. He laughs at the ministry at night and assures them in the morning that he is entirely theirs' (quoted in ODNB)
The Cocoa Tree coffee-house in Pall Mall was used as a tory meeting place from the 1720s to 1770s; by the date of this print it was seen as the party's unofficial headquarters (see Linda J Colley, "The Loyal Brotherhood and the Cocoa Tree: The London Organization of the Tory Party, 1727-1760", The Historical Journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, March, 1977, pp. 77-95).
The North Briton, No, XIX, 9 October 1762, contained a response, said to be by William Temple, to the Briton of 11 September 1762: "Ye worthy citizens of London, see! a foul-mouthed ruffian ... with the infernal rage of a fiend broke loose from the regions of darkness, attack your favourite goddess Liberty on her throne ... squirt his venomous excrements in her face ... and at last ... rush forward to plunge a dagger in her heart!"
The journalist James Ralph was a supporter of Bute who received a government pension on the accession of George III and so, like Hogarth (who received an income as Sergeant Painter to the King), was open to vicious attack from Bute's opponents.
Bute was said to have hired pugilists and butchers to protect him on the route to the Lord Mayor of London's banquet in 1761; 'whifflers' were armed attendants traditionally employed to clear the way for public processions.
Havana had been captured by the British in August 1762; the terms of the Peace returned Cuba to Spain while Florida became a British colony.
Hogarth's print "The Times, Plate 1" was published on 7 September 1762. An earlier spate of satires criticising Hogarth had resulted from his opposition to plans for the establishment of the Royal Academy and the publication of his "Analysis of Beauty" in 1753.
Both Charles Townshend (see above) and George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax, were members of Bute's government; as secretary of state for the north Halifax issued the general warrant for the arrest of the author, printer, and publishers of the North Briton, No.45 (23 April 1763), in which Wilkes had attacked the king's speech commending the treaty of Paris. If the print appeared after this date, then the block from which the inkpot and quill are suspended may be intended to represent Halifax as signatory of the warrant.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1998 Jan-Apr, USA, Berkeley AM, Hogarth and his Times
1998 Jun-Aug, Ottawa, NGC, Hogarth and his Times
1998 Sep-Nov, USA, NY, Columbia Univ, Hogarth and his Times
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Seven Years' War 1756-1763
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number