- Museum number
- Object: A March to the Bank
Soldiers march impassively in double file through a crowded street, and over the prostrate bodies of those whom they have overthrown. Military arrogance and foppishness are personified by the officer, much caricatured, with a grotesquely elongated waist (cf. BMSat 7352). He places one toe on the body of a fish-woman who lies on her back, her legs much exposed. His outstretched right leg is poised above a crouching woman who tries to protect her barrow of vegetables. Two men holding muskets precede the officer; one tramples on the face of an infant. The officer is followed by a man carrying a pike, behind whom march six soldiers in double file carrying muskets with fixed bayonets. All march ruthlessly, eyes front, regardless of the havoc they are causing. A porter lies on the ground clutching a broken wooden case faintly inscribed 'Mr . . . Silversmith'; from it pour plate and jewels. The porter's knee is badly damaged, and his knot has been knocked from his shoulders. A milliner or courtesan lies on her back clutching the hair of a barber who clasps her leg. On the extreme right a prostrate woman tries to protect her infant, and a newsboy with his horn and a sheaf of the 'Morning Herald' tries to escape from the trampling soldiers. Other victims between the soldiers and the wall are a woman with a crutch, a shoeblack, a man with a tray of rolls. A pair of beseeching hands and two female legs (right) waving in the air add to the turmoil, which is accentuated by the writhing forms of the fish which fall from the fishwoman's basket. The background is formed by the wall of a stone building with two elaborately barred niches, and by the window of a silversmith's shop (right). After the title is engraved 'Vide. The Strand, Fleet Street, Cheapside &c. Morning & Evening.' 22 August 1787
- Production date
Height: 420 millimetres
Width: 541 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
After the Gordon Riots the Bank was protected by a party of Guards who marched in double file through the streets. On 5 July 1787 a citizen complained to the Court of Aldermen of having been pushed off the footway; the Mayor was instructed to request the Secretary at War to order the guard to march in single file. This was not acceded to; the Guards had complained of their treatment in the City, and after lengthy negotiations the City proposed the withdrawal of the guard (Oct. 1788). The King's illness served as an excuse for letting the matter drop. Sharpe, 'London and the Kingdom', iii. 216-19.
Also an earlier state, uncoloured, in which the legs of the prostrate fishwoman are more exposed, additional drapery having been afterwards added.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 90 (reproduction). Wright and Evans, No. 25.
Reproduced, Fuchs, p. 251.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 Jun-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Gillray and the Art of Caricature'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number