- Museum number
- Object: La Belle Assemblêe
Five elderly women of fashion attend an altar of Love in a temple whose walls are wreathed with roses. The fat Mrs. Hobart, in profile to the right, pours incense on the flames of the altar; in her right hand is an open book, 'Ninon'. Behind her (left) Lady Archer, with the nose of a bird of prey, leads a lamb garlanded with roses; she guides the animal with a riding-whip. Miss Jefferies walks beside Lady Archer holding a basket of flowers. On the extreme left Lady Mount-Edgcumb, aged and bent, holds a dove in each hand. On the right of the altar Lady Cecilia Johnstone plays a lyre. The altar is decorated with rams' heads, a heart, arrows, and roses. A sculptured group of the three Graces stands in an alcove in the wall above the altar. In the background (left) is a mountain peak, Parnassus, on which sits a tiny figure of Apollo, playing a fiddle, the sun irradiating his head. Beneath the design is
'"Here, Love his golden shafts employs; here lights
"His constant lamp; and waves his purple wings;
"Reigns here and revels." Milton.' 12 May 1787
- Production date
Height: 248 millimetres
Width: 348 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
Elderly leaders of fashion were a favourite subject of caricature with Gillray; for his earlier caricatures of Lady Archer, Lady C. Johnstone, and Lady Mount-Edgcumbe see volume v. See also BMSats 7971-5, and BMSat 8158.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 86; Wright and Evans, No. 374. Reproduced, Paston, pl. xxxvi.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 Jun-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Gillray and the Art of Caricature'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number