- Museum number
- Object: The justice in the suds
The interior of a panelled room; a young man wearing a three-cornered hat and the gown of a fellow commoner of Trinity College, with his hands behind his back and without any indication of passion, spits in the face of a man in a closely curled wig. A cat, with arched back, stands on a chair watching the encounter. On the wall behind are ranged objects to show that it is the room of an active justice of peace: a picture (left) of a man (three-quarter length) with bare back standing at a whipping-post; a pair of jack boots hanging from nails on the lower edge of the frame gives an illusion of a whole length figure. On the next two panels are hung a halter of rope and a chain. On the right. panel is a picture of Justice (half length) with ass's ears and wearing a fool's cap. One eye is blindfolded; in her right hand is a wooden sword, in her left a pair of scales, one end of which she is holding down with her right forefinger. (The J.P. was often styled a justass, see BMSat 6120.) Below this hangs an academic gown surmounted by a hat, beneath which stands a pair of shoes. Beneath the design is etched,
"Ah! Poor Justice, Oh fie------[Stanley]
Dud a cry, To treat him so scornfully,
Ah! welladay, Shamefully, mournfully
Wipe an Eye ------Fie." 14 January 1773
- Production date
Height: 182 millimetres
Width: 206 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
An impression of this print was one of a number sent by Cole the antiquary to Horace Walpole. He afterwards sent him the following explanation of it, April 18, 1775:
"The Hon Mr Stanley, Brother to Lord Stanley & Fellow Commoner of Trinity College, is spitting in Dr Ewen's face. The Likenesses are tolerably well preserved: Dr Ewen [Ewin] does not squint enough. He cast Mr Stanley on a Trial in Westminster Hall, made him pay & ask Pardon." Add. MSS. 5824, fo. 84 b.
A note by Cole on the occasion of a letter (n.d.) from Ewin to himself announcing that Mr. Stanley had not got his degree ("Mr Stanley offered again and was stopped on the caput"), explains: "This refers to Mr Stanley's spiting in Dr Ewins Face about Christmas Eve on some offence or conceived offence from Dr Ewin of which a Print is now made & sold: He is grandson to the Earl of Derby." 'Ibid.', 5844, fo. 42 b.
He was the Hon. Thomas Stanley (1753-79), afterwards a major in the army. W. H. Ewin (1731?-80), St. John's College, a wealthy Cambridge brewer and usurer, was expelled from the university and suspended from his degrees in 1778 for lending money usuriously to an undergraduate, subsequently restored on a 'mandamus' but severely censured by Lord Mansfield, and struck out of the Commission of the Peace. The subject of many lampoons by undergraduates. See 'D.N.B.'
The print appears in BMSat 5189.
There is a W.L. portrait of 'Dr Ewing' walking in profile to the r. called 'The Man of Accomodation', etched by Anna Maria Dean after a drawing by 'Mr Porteus of Trin. Coll.' in book of 'Honorary Engravers', ii, fo. 157.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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