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Object: The Triumverate [sic] or Britania [sic] in Distress
Object: To the Glorious Sons of Freedom, at the London-Tavern, Who nobly defended the Rights of their Country against an Arbitrary Administration
A broadside on a petition by Middlesex and London electors to the crown, protesting against John Wilkes's exclusion from Parliament and calling for various reforms; with an etching showing the interior of a palace, on the left a throne which is occupied by George III, Duke of Grafton and Lord Bute, the throne is flanked by two Scotsmen, above the throne a hand, writing on the wall, in front of the throne a native American breaking a wooden yoke on his knee, behind him the figure of Britannia in chains, on the right a procession delivering the London petition with John Wilkes on horseback, in the background on the wall a scene of Henry III being forced by Parliament and people to confirm two charters of rights; with engraved titles and inscriptions, and, on a separate sheet, with letterpress text in three and verses in four columns, and with five vertical and one horizontal segment of type ornaments. (n.p.:)
- Production date
Height: 331 millimetres (etching)
Height: 136 millimetres (letterpress)
Width: 411 millimetres (etching)
Width: 399 millimetres (letterpress)
- Curator's comments
- Wilkes had been re-elected MP for Middlesex in February, March and April 1769, but on all three occasions the election was overturned by Parliament. After the last election his opponent HL Luttrell was declared elected. Supporters of Wilkes formed the Bill of Rights Society, which tried to force Parliament to accept the will of the Middlesex electorate (the society aimed also at parliamentary reforms). In June 1769 they voted in favour of a petition to the crown - the London petition is subject of this broadside.
For further information on Wilkes, see BM 1873-8-9-1475.
The writing above the throne is incomplete, and refers to the riddle on the wall at Belshazzar's feast (Mene, mene, tekel, Upharsin). The composition of the print alludes to traditional depictions of "The Queen of Sheba arriving before Solomon" (see, for example Marcantonio Raimondi, BM 1874-8-8-227)
The London Tavern was the meeting place of the Supporters of the Bill of Rights.
The broadside was cut-up, apparently removing the name or designation which would have followed "their humble Servants".
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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