- Museum number
- Object: Parliamentary-reform,-or-opposition-rats, leaving the house they had undermined.
Through the folding doors of the House of Commons rats are seen fleeing from the Opposition benches and leaping from the gallery above. In the foreground, scampering down steps leading to the lobby, are rats with human faces: Fox and 'Grey' (collar so inscribed) are first, followed by Sheridan and Erskine and little M. A. Taylor. The Speaker and the two Clerks look astounded. Pitt is speaking; he holds a paper: 'Rights of Parliamt'. Next him on the front bench sits the bulky Dundas in Highland dress, and next Dundas the tiny Wilberforce. These three, though on a small scale, are fully characterized. Behind them are the serried ranks of the Government, holding up their hands in astonishment, as do others in the gallery. A few members of the Opposition, not transformed into rats, stand behind the Speaker's chair (right). The wall of the House is damaged by rats, some of whom are escaping through holes they have made. On the wall beside the door (left) are bills: 'Virtue Triumphant or the Expulsion of Vice and Opposition Silenced.' 28 May 1797
- Production date
Height: 355 millimetres
Width: 268 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
A satire on the secession of the leaders of the Opposition from Parliament. In the debate on Grey's motion for Reform (defeated by 256 to 91) Fox announced his intention of partially seceding from Parliament, 'after seeing the conduct of this House, after seeing them give the ministers their confidence and support, upon convicted failure, imposition and incapacity , . . .'. 'Parl. Hist.' xxxiii. 732 (26 May). See Fox, 'Memorials and Corr.' iii. 136, 138, 144-5, 273; Holland, 'Memoirs of the Whig Party', i. 84-90, 101 f., 143; 'Lady Holland's Journal', i. 148 f.; and BMSats 9020, 9022, 9023, 9024, 9040, 9047, 9204, 9216, 9217, 9263, 9267, 9340, 9343, 9371, 9375, 9401, 9434, 9508, 9511, 9515, 9548, 9549.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 227, Wright and Evans, No. 172. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number