- Museum number
- Object: The Boot & the Block-Head
Satire on Lord Bute and on William Hogarth for his support of Bute showing a large jack boot from which rises a pole crowned with a wigmaker's block-head. A star and garter and a large spur are attached to the boot; the block-head is topped by a Scotch bonnet adorned with a white Jacobite cockade; a long tail curves down to the boot, in mockery of Hogarth's line of beauty. A paper, lettered "Briton" lies across the instep of the boot and another lettered "a Scotch Peace" lies beside it. The pro-Bute journalist Arthur Murphy bows obsequiously to the boot, a paper lettered "Auditor" attached to his back. A clergyman in large spectacles kneels beside him holding up his hands and saying "Bless me, it verifies the old saying a blockhead & a fool has the most powerful tail". Scotsmen kneel behind, one saying "If he has not a heart of Oak he has a head of Oak, he has indeed". On the step beneath the boot is written "Oh' Garth fect 1762"; a palette and an impression of Hogarth's "The Times" rest on the step. Hogarth, an old man with ass's ears, reaches out to Charles Churchill who has knocked off his hat with a whip; he cries, "Dam it Charles what have you done to me you’ll make me run mad" (a reference to Churchill's attack on the artist in the North Briton, No. 17, and to Sandby's print "The author run mad" (BM Satires 3244)). Churchill, holding the "North Briton", responds "I'll spare none of you from the top of the Bonnet to the sole of the Boot".
In the background on the right the sun rises behind a flight of stairs down which the Duke of Cumberland steps, he too holds a whip and turns to his nephew, the Duke of York, saying "lends a hand Ned to scourge the worshippers of a blockhead I'll warn 'em presently as I did in '45". York, dressed as a sailor, replies "I'll lend you a hand, my Prince of bold actions".
Two columns of verse below attacking Bute's ambition. 1762
- Production date
Height: 287 millimetres
Width: 198 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The print was advertised in the Public Advertiser, 23 October 1762: "A Curious Caricatura Print in the North-Briton Stile called The BOOT and the BLOCKHEAD. To be had of Mary Darly, Etcher and Publisher, in Ryder's Court Leicester Fields".
Stephens's attribution to Townshend is no longer accepted.
A preliminary study for this print attributed to Sandby is in the Royal Collection (Oppe 204); it is clearly an early working out of the composition without the figures of Hogarth and Churchill and with quite different wording for the speech of Cumberland and York. For another preliminary study, closer to the print, see 1868,0808.4253.
Hawkins's annotation identifies the sailor as Admiral Hawke, but in the drawing in the Royal Collection he addresses Cumberland as "my dear Uncle" making it clear that he is the Duke of York. York appears similarly dressed in another anti-Bute print by Sandby (BM Satires 3910)
Darly also published at least two other prints by Sandby, see BM Satires 3917 and 4641).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number