- Museum number
- Object: The Naked Truth, or, the sweet little angel turned out forlorn
Miss Gunning, naked, enters a door on the extreme left above which is the sign of the 'Bedford Arms': a young woman (half length) inscribed 'Betty Canning' (see BMSat 7982), being embraced by a pair of arms, indicating the protection given by the Duchess of Bedford to Miss Gunning and her mother. Two coronets are suspended from the tips of her hair, in her hand is a book inscribed 'Oath'; she looks over her shoulder at her mother, saying, "What will become of me? Oh! dear! that I should thus fall between two Coronets." Mrs. Gunning, who wears only a shift and nightcap, follows her in profile to the left, carrying an inkpot, a sheaf of pens, and papers inscribed: 'Best Fools cap for Pamphlet and Last Shift'. She says, "Go in my dear, sweet, lovely, charming, harmless, innocent, innoxious, immaculate heavenly, blessed, angelic, celestial Cherub - her Grace will protect us, and I have preserved the necessary Materials, and I'll warrant, I'll give them a three Shilling Touch - ".
In the centre an old woman (Duchess of Bedford) in profile to the right stops with a broom an angry officer (General Gunning) who brandishes a musket by the barrel, howling, "I'll not rest till I have blown them to Italy, Dam'me". From his pocket projects a book, 'Harris List' [of Covent-Garden ladies]. The Duchess says, "Stop most valiant Sir, you shall pursue the children of Israel no further, my house is their Asylum, it was bravely done to strip and turn them out penny less - Oh! fie! fie! You a Father and Husband! I am ashamed of you."
On the extreme right a man dressed as a military officer (? Blandford) holds up a gigantic lantern, into which he peers, saying, "I am as much in the dark as ever - I can discove no clue to get to the bottom of this very mysterious Affair". The head of General Gunning's groom appears behind him, saying, "Truth they say lies in a Well - Tol de rol lol I have kicked up a fine dust with our galloping Mare." 8 November 1791
- Production date
Height: 244 millimetres
Width: 350 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
See BMSat 7980, &c. Mrs. Gunning (née Minifie) was a novelist and published 'A Letter . . . to the Duke of Argyll', writing of her 'sweet injured angel' (p. 47), &c. In this the ejected pair are compared to the 'Children of Israel', and it is alleged that General Gunning recommended his wife, daughter, and sister-in-law to settle in Italy (p. 106). As a novelist her language was so flowery that Lady Harcourt uses or coins the word 'minific' for absurd hyperbole. 'Harcourt Papers', ed. E. W. Harcourt, xi. 101.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number