- Museum number
Object: P[itt] and Proteus, or a Political Flight to the Moon
Object: Quem Deus Vult Perdere, Prius Dementat (Whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.)
Satire alleging that William Pitt had habitually changed his politics to suit circumstance. He is shown as a kite flying towards the moon (the kite inscribed with various lunatic projects, "The Test / A Project for annexing the Empire of the Moon to the Crown of / As I do not guide I am not responsible / Political Magnet / Relief for the Poor in Nubibus / The Family Compact between Sun adn Moon discover'd / humbly addres'd to our Political Redeemer / The Beavers a Fable"), A two-headed Prussian eagle, an owl, a Hanoverian war-horse to which is attached a large boot (standing for Lord Bute), a weeping crocodile, a cormorant swallowing "Posts, Pensions, Titles" and excreting "Grants / Bounties / Reversions / Duties / Hard Taxes Undigested / Subsidies", a goose and a bull. The kite string (lettered "Nil desperandum te duce Teucro / Quo flatus trahunt / Quo velis / Oculate Manus / Ways & Means / Wits end") is manipulated by Lord Bute saying "Ay Neck or Nothing"; beside Bute is Proteus as a Scots merman who challenges Pitt to be as changeable as Charles Townshend, known as the "Weathercock". In the centre, John Wilkes recoils in fear as the bull (Pitt) lowers his head to charge; his horns are marked with the names of (Samuel) Martin and (Alexander) Dunn both of whom had threatened Wilkes. On the ground lies Earl Temple who has already been flung down by Pitt, his brother-in-law. On the right is a fox, Henry Fox, who has "mark'd [Pitt] for a Goose", i.e. is ready to take advantage of him. On the left, the king, holding a scroll lettered "and Emperor of the Moon O la", is surrounded by politicians hostile to Pitt; flags flying behind them are lettered in French with such phrases as "Les Anglois sont fous"; City alderman ("The Hon Company of Merchant Sdventurers Trading to the Moon") encourage Pitt, "He rises like our Stocks". Engraved English and Latin titles and inscriptions, and with English letterpress verses in four columns, cropped with some words of the verses missing. (n.p.: ).
- Production date
Height: 235 millimetres (etching)
Height: 320 millimetres (printed area, cropped)
Width: 392 millimetres (etching)
Width: 392 millimetres (printed area)
- Curator's comments
- The allusion to the moon and the "Via Lunatica" must refer to Pitt's succumbing to manic depression in the spring of 1767.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number