- Museum number
- Object: The royal hunt, or a prospect of the year 1782
A companion to BMSat 5988 also ascribed to Townshend. In the foreground (left) a party of ministers is carousing. Members of the Opposition watch them with indignation. In the distance (left) behind them mounted men with hounds chase a stag. On the right the Temple of Fame is being demolished by the enemies of Britain. Many of the figures have numbers referring to notes engraved beneath the design.
The central figure in the ministerial group is (4) Sandwich ("S--h") seated on the ground playing a violin, between two courtesans, each of whom holds a goblet of wine. He turns to one of them, saying, "D--mn the Navy, Give me t'ther Glee"; she holds a torn paper inscribed "How merrily we live". An open book, "Catchs Glees", in front of him, is supported by a wine-bottle. In the left corner of the print is (5) North (“N--h”) seated on a small sack inscribed “Budg[et]”, he is yawning, his arms stretched above his head. Three men stand behind him: a man in Elizabethan dress wearing a tall hat and ruff who is (9) “R--by [Rigby] in the Character of Bobadil”. He says (apparently of Sandwich) “I would he were in the Bottomless Pit.” Cf. BMSat 5982, 6052. For the time-serving Rigby's attack on Germain and Sandwich, and flattery of Pitt (14 Dec. 1781) see Walpole, 'Last Journals', 1910, ii. 390, and 'Parliamentary Hist.' xxii. 847. Behind him and whispering into his ear, stands 8, Lord Amherst (“A--rst”), very thin, saying, “Dick Rugby [sic] Stand Close”. Behind Amherst stands 7, Lord George Germain (“G--mn”) saying “Jeffry Barebones [i.e. Amherst], this is worse than Minden.”
Next on the right stands the group of patriots: (6) Pitt (“W--P--t”) looking towards North, says “Shake off this Indolence”. (3), Fox (“F--x”), pointing towards the Temple of Fame (right) and frowning, says, “Wheres your Navy, wheres your Islands”. (2), Burke (“B--k”) is saying “Wont even Destruction move ye”. (1), The Duke of Richmond (“R--d”) says “Curs'd be those men who owe their Greatness to their Countrys Ruin”.
In the foreground (right) Britannia, seated on the ground on her shield, weeps, a handkerchief held to her eyes. Behind her is (10) “The Temple of Fame, formerly the Wonder of the World, but now in Ruins”, a building with a fluted dome on which the winged figure of Fame without her trumpet is poised on one foot, the other leg being broken off. The building is supported on a colonnade of pillars, all but two of which have been broken away and lie on the ground. The largest fallen column is inscribed “America”, it lies across another, “Rh . . . de Island”, suggesting that the artist believed Rhode Island to be one of the West India islands. The other fallen columns are: “St. Kitts”, “Tobago”, “Eustatius”, “Nevis”, “Dominique”, “St. Vincents”, “Grenadoes”, “Minorca”. St. Kitts and Nevis did not capitulate until 12 Feb. 1782; the news did not reach London till 3 March. 'Corr. of George III', v, p. 376. The two still remaining columns are “Gibraltar” and “Jamaica Barbadoes”. A chain of four men is tugging at a rope placed round the 'Gibraltar' pillar, the first is Spain, next Holland, next America, and last France.
On the right, between Britannia and the temple, the kings of France and Spain stand looking on; France says, “Brother our Work is near Over”.
The upper part of the temple, though precariously poised, is still intact. In the centre of the façade is a pediment decorated with the head of “Geo Secundus”, wearing a laurel wreath in an oval, and with smaller ovals inscribed with the names of British admirals: “Hawke”, “Saunders”, “Boscawen”, “Pocock”. These surround a tablet inscribed with British victories: “Quebec”, “Portobello”, “Havannah”, “Belle-Isle”, “Martinique”. On each side of the pediment is a window. Within one (right) are seen minute figures in Highland dress; one says “Egad Sawney wed better gang”. A Scotsman is getting out of the other window. This scene and the names of the supposed artists imply that disaster in the war has been due to the schemes of Bute and a Scottish faction, carried out by English ministers, but that this faction is now ready to depart, an allusion to the expected fall of the ministry. [Cf. 'Morning Herald', 30 Mar. 1782: "The Butean system is to be entirely abolished, and all Scotsmen to be wrested out of public offices, military as well as civil, in as quick manner as possible."] See BMSat 5963, 6005.
In the distance is a fleet of ships in full sail (right) advancing towards four dismantled ships with brooms at their mast-heads showing that they are for sale (left), a gibe at the (supposed) comparative positions of the British Navy and the allied fleet. The Royal Hunt is taking place on the left. George III is on horseback, a label hanging from his pocket is inscribed “The mightiest Hunter I”. With him are four other riders and dogs; they chase the stag up a hill. 16 February 1782
Etching with letterpress text
- Production date
Height: 244 millimetres (plate)
Height: 340 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 354 millimetres (plate)
Width: 354 millimetres (sheet)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
Much importance was ascribed to this print by the 'Morning Herald', Bate's newspaper, see BMSat 5550, &c. On 25 March a paragraph alleged that it had been shown by the Prince of Wales to the king and (a clearly baseless assertion) had induced him to dismiss the Ministry. On 28 March the paper attributed the print to "a noble lord ..." [Viscount Townshend]. On 30 March it called for the withdrawal of satirical prints, especially the 'Royal Hunt', a "well-timed but most insolent exhibition", since "His Majesty has at length returned to the voice of his people". On 1 Apr. it records the publication of a "new descriptive song" of eight stanzas, given with the print "with which the people seem much captivated".
This song appears to be the one printed beneath the plate, showing that it is a reissue at some date probably after 1 Apr. News of the loss of Minorca did not reach London till March. The verses ("The Chase. To the tune of The Dusky Night") are put into the mouth of George III, who expresses his disregard of national disaster, provided he can still go "a hunting". One verse, to which is added a note "This song was written before the change of the Ministry", runs:
If Fox and Burke and Barré still
Should circumscribe our space.
Leave me but round sweet W--d--r's [Windsor's] hill,
Sufficient for the chase
That a hunting we may go, &c."
Half Nimrod's fame belongs to me,
Ev'n patriots wont deny,
The mightiest of all warriors he,
The mightiest hunter I.
Then a hunting . . . &c."
The exaggerated allegations of disaster to British arms resemble Burke's speech of 6 March, which, however, the print anticipates. See Wraxall, 'Memoirs', 1884, ii. 214 f., 'Parl. Hist.' xxii. 1110f. The first appearance of Pitt in the Catalogue.
Underneath the plate are printed the verses to 'The Chase', in letterpress text.
- Not on display
- Associated names
Representation of: Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst
Associated with: Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre
Representation of: Edmund Burke
Representation of: Charles III, King of Spain
Representation of: Charles James Fox
Representation of: George Sackville Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville
Representation of: Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford
Representation of: William Pitt the Younger
Representation of: Richard Rigby
Representation of: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
Associated with: Isaac Barré
Associated with: Adm Right Hon Edward Boscawen
Associated with: John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute
Associated with: George II, King of Great Britain
Associated with: George III, King of the United Kingdom
Associated with: Admiral Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke
Associated with: Admiral Sir George Pocock
Associated with: Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond and Lennox
Associated with: Sir Charles Saunders
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number