- Museum number
- Object: Deities of the day. Or, the god in their altitudes. A farce now performing.
Pitt and his supporters are the gods supported on clouds and on a platform held up by pulleys just above the level of a stage which is indicated by a fiddler seated full-face in the centre foreground. The violinist, fiddle in one hand, bow in the other, says: "Gentlemen you see my Deities are now actually in the Clouds, Jupiter has knock'd, down Apollo. - But Gentlemen the Scene will presently change and you shall see him Shine with redoubled Splendour upon Earth". The pulleys are held by two men ('Assistants'), one on each side, whose hands only are visible.
In the centre of the platform are two chairs or thrones; the seat of one, probably that of the Prince of Wales ('Apollo') (left) is inscribed 'Vacant'; from the other Pitt, as Jupiter, wearing a crown, has just risen; he turns in profile to the right holding out a sheaf of thunderbolts. Behind his chair stands 'Ganymede', holding out on a tray a bottle inscribed 'Nantz' and a wineglass ; he says to Pitt, "Brandy wont save you". He is George Rose, Secretary to the Treasury. Three men stand (right) on Pitt's left; they are 'Mercury (Dundas), with wings bound to his head by a fillet; he stands in profile to the left holding out a trap from which hangs the body of a rat; in nis hand is a tartan plaid. 'Cupid' (Sydney), who turns his head towards Pitt, has wings and a quiver of arrows. Next is Wilkes, old and toothless and wearing his hat, in his left hand he holds a mask. He turns his back on his companions and bends forward to address the unseen man below who supports the platform, saying, "Pull away Old Wine Brewer mind the Seventh Commandment". Here we go up up up, and here we go down, go down. In a label issuing from the concealed brewer (Josiah Dornford) are the words 'Hold your jaw Mr Alderman we're both on a side now.'
On the left are three other supporters of Pitt: 'Neptune' (Hood) stands in profile to the right, his large nose exaggerated; in his left hand he holds a trident, his hat is in his right hand. From his pocket protrudes a paper inscribed '12 April \ ki[l]ld o \ [woun]ded o \ - n. o.' This is an allusion to the Battle of the Saints, 12 Apr. 1782, see BMSat 5991, &c. Behind him stands 'Mars' (the Duke of Richmond) in military uniform holding a long spear. On his left arm is a shield, round the rim of which are the words 'Cash Coals Candles Cartridge', alluding to the Duke's office of Master of the Ordnance, to his inherited grant of a duty on coals (the 'Richmond shilling', [Cf. Peter Pindar, 'A Pair of Lyric Epistles to Lord Macartney and his Staff': Charles, to support a bastard and a wh------, Impos'd a tax on coals that starv'd the poor.] see BMSat 5650), and to his reputed parsimony. In front of Richmond is 'Hercules', seated full-face, his hands folded on the end of an enormous club. He is Thurlow, in Chancellor's wig and gown. Near his head (left) are the hands of one of the supporters of the stage holding a paper inscribed 'Heads of my next speech - marriage The Pope Hell and The Devil'. Thurlow is saying "Damn your [st]upid head Mr Rigma Rolle you will let us down by God."
A scroll in the lower left corner of the design represents a playbill: below the title (ut supra) is inscribed:
'Jupiter ------ Mr Pett [cf. BMSat 7481]
Mercury ------ Mr Scotmam
Cupid ------ Master Sydney
Hercules ------ Mr Thurlow
Mars ------ Mr Richman
Neptune ------ Mr Hoode
Ganymede ------ Mr Rows
Momus ------ Mr A. Squintun
Assistants ------- Mr Rigmarolle & Mr Jo. Donefort
Any money taken \ none returnd'
'Mr Rigmarolle' is Rolle, M.P. for Devon, the hero of the 'Rolliad'; the allusion is clearly to his speeches on the suspected marriage of the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Fitzherbert during the debates on the debts of the Prince of Wales, 27 and 30 Apr. 1787, see Wraxall, 'Memoirs', 1884, iv. 451-5. 'Donefort' is Josiah Dornford, a Common Councillor who moved an address to Pitt, see BMSats 7388, 7392, 8266. For Thurlow's oaths cf. BMSat 7320, &c. Beneath the design is engraved:
'Pitt in the Chair of our State Lord May'r
With a Nod Peers by God
Keeps in Awe.
If he wink Bishops shrink
If he speak Commons squeak
Poor England's but his Taw [cf. BMSat 7497].
Cock of the School, he bears despotic rule
His word tho' absurd
must be Law.
Even Fate tho' so great, must not prate, his bald pate
Pitt would cuff, he's so bluff
&c &c For a Straw.
Da Capo.' c.December 1788
Etching and aquatint
- Production date
Height: 487 millimetres
Width: 552 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
One of many satires on the Regency crisis, see BMSat 7377, &c. Similar in manner to BMSat 7392, &c, by the same artist, in all of which Pitt is accused of aiming at supreme power.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number