- Museum number
- Object: The times - or a view of the old house in little Brittain - with nobody going to Hannover.
On the right is 'The old Building', an inn of old-fashioned construction with a projecting upper story and attic, representing Great Britain or the Constitution. On the left is the king, apparently asleep, driving off to Hanover in a coach with a crown on its roof. Two men and a barefooted woman who holds up two naked infants kneel beside the coach in attitudes of despairing entreaty. In the upper left corner of the print, above the coach, an eye looks towards the 'Old House' labelled, 'Turn out those Robbers and repair the House'.
The robbers in possession are members of the Coalition. The lowest story, stone-built and solid but sinking beneath the weight of the upper floors, is inscribed 'Public Credit', a large padlocked gate being inscribed 'Funds'. Outside it sits Fox, in the form of a fox, on a stone inscribed 'Protector'; he points towards the padlock. A chain attached to his waist is attached to a curving pillar, inscribed 'Coalition', which is the bending support of a balcony. Beside him, seated on a turnstile, is North saying, "Give me my Ease And do as you Please". On the other side of the gateway the crown stands on a block inscribed 'To be Sold'.
The first floor is supported by two massive beams or props, one, 'The Lords', being intact (indicating the part taken by the Lords in rejecting the India Bill), the other, 'Prerogative of the Crown', is almost chopped through by one of two lawyers in a first-floor window inscribed 'ye two Lawyers'; he sits with one leg over the sill wielding an axe. Beside him projects from a beam the sign of the house, 'Magna Charta', a torn document with a pendant seal; the signboard is dropping down. He is Lee the Attorney-General, pilloried for his speech on the East India Company's Charter, see BMSat 6364, &c. Next him is another lawyer, who shakes his clenched fist towards 'Magna Charta'. He is perhaps James Mansfield (1733-1821) who succeeded Lee as Solicitor-General (Nov. 19) on the death of Wallace.
The first-floor balcony, an excrescence on the original structure supported by the pillar Coalition, extends round the corner of the house above Fox and North. It is filled with revellers: a harlequin leans over it, next him is Burke, who blows a long trumpet from which issue the words 'Sheridan Sheridan Sheridan dan Sheridan', pointing towards a group on his left which includes a man (Sheridan?) flourishing a bottle and dressed as a clown or zany (cf. BMSat 7273), and two women, one of whom resembles the Duchess of Devonshire. Beside her a large flag projects from the balcony, 'Man of the People'; on it is a fox's brush. On the rails of the balcony is a placard 'Here's the Whore of Babylon the Devil and the Pope'. The wall behind is inscribed 'The old Building'.
The projecting windowless attic or cornice is divided, in front of the house into partitions numbered from 1 to 10. Round the corner (right) the wall is inscribed 'The accursed 10 years American War fomented by opposition and misconducted by a timid Minister'. The roof is composed of stones or large irregular slates, on each of which is the word 'Tax', showing that the security of the house is endangered by the weight of taxes. On it sits a bird, probably a raven of ill omen. 23 January 1784
- Production date
Height: 237 millimetres (cropped)
Width: 329 millimetres (cropped)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
The fact that the Coalition is in possession of the house well illustrates the insecurity of Pitt and confidence of Fox. Cf. Russell, 'Corr. of C.J. Fox', 1883, ii. 227, and BMSat 6373, &c. For Fox's attempt to keep the Treasury padlocked see BMSat 6380, &c. For the king's recurrent desire to go to Hanover when indignant at English politics cf. BMSat 6007, 6185. Fox is compared with Cromwell by the word 'Protector', see BMSat 6380, &c.
The original drawing for this is in the Print Room. The inscriptions are identical with those on the plate, except that the word Sheridan emerging four times from Burke's trumpet is written 'Sher-dan'. (201 c. 6/20.)
Grego, 'Rowlandson', i. 114-15.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number