- Museum number
Object: The Pillory Triumphant
Object: The Pillory Triumphant: Or, No.45 for ever
A broadside on the public support of John Williams, bookseller, who was fined, imprisoned and made to stand in the pillory in Palace Yard, Westminster, for re- publishing number 45 of John Wilkes's "North Briton" in January 1765. The pillory is lettered "Scotch Yoke" and its post, "North Pole"; Williams holds a laurel branch, a protective angel perches on the pillory and supporters crowd the foreground. On the left, a Scot is assailed by a pugilist, stripped to the waist, encouraged by a group of men one of whom calls out, "Well done Donald Curry his Hide" (a reference to Michael Curry, the printer who had provided evidence against Wilkes). Behind this group is a scaffold made from two ladders from which hang, an axe, a jackboot (standing for Bute) and a Scotch bonnet; the hangman ascends the ladder holding a torch; another boot has been thrown up in the air. A ragged couple stand in the foreground, and beside them well-dressed men toast Williams. Another well-dressed man carries a large purse in which the sum of £200 was collected for Williams. On the right, two King's Messengers (one probably Nathan Carrington) note that the arrest of Williams was unwise. In the background, the head of a lawyer (Lord Mansfield) has been fixed on the apex of the roof of Westminster Hall; a large man watches proceedings from the window of hackney coach number 45. Letterpress title and verses in five columns, and with four vertical segments of type ornaments. 1765
- Production date
Height: 231 millimetres (etching)
Height: 300 millimetres (printed area)
Width: 343 millimetres (etching)
Width: 355 millimetres (printed area)
- Curator's comments
- The verses, probably by Henry Howard, include mention of "the Petticoat" (i.e., Princess Augusta) and "[Judge] Jeffreys" (i.e., Lord Mansfield); the Press is celebrated as "Guardian of our Liberties", and readers are assured that George II "a Briton born" will defend the country against "Stuart Arts".
Stephens suggests that the head on the roof of Westminster Hall may be intended for that of Serjeant Bradshaw, the regicide, but it is much more likely that it represents Lord Mansfield who found Wilkes guilty of sedition.
An annotation on an impression in the Library of Congress, identifies the man collecting for Williams as Humphrey Cotes, a wine dealer and friend of Wilkes.
The incident was recalled in 1773: "On the 14th of February, Mr. John Williams, bookseller in Fleet-street, stood in the pillory in New Palace yard Westminster; for republishing the North Briton compleat in volumes. The ministry gained nothing by this sentence on the poor bookseller: the spirit of the populace keeping pace with their resentment, and defeating the intention of the ignominy, by displaying a burlesque exhibition that excited much more attention, and sentiments directly opposite. They suspended near the pillory a jack boot, a Scots bonnet, and an axe; and after suffering them to hang for some time they chopped off the top of the boot, and burned it together with the bonnet with great triumph. In the mean time a gentleman putting a guinea into a purse handed it round the assembly, and it is said collected above 200 guineas for Mr. Wilkes's benefit. The hackney coach No. 45, carried him to and from the pillory, nor would the anti-ministerial driver accept any thing for the use of his carriage." (A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark,1773, pp. 419-450)
For another broadside on the same subject, see BM1868-8-8-4359 (BM Satires 4114).
The composition and facial types are reminiscent of satires designed by Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale. O'Neale produced prints for Williams and Sumpter in 1762-63.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number