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- Object: A visit to the Irish pig!!. With reflections physical & moral
George III stoops to inspect through a glass a gigantic pig standing in a stable, but facing the King, and projecting beyond the partition of his stall. Behind the King (left) stands a courtier in Light Horse regimentals, but wearing a gold key which indicates the Lord Chamberlain (Salisbury). He holds up a lantern, saying: "That Pig is the Tallest Fittest Properest Pig to stand before the K the most wonderful I ever had the honor to shew - it is arrived from Ireland - truly worthy the Inspection of the curious, an amazing animal!" The King answers "True - true - very fat Ireland! - hae? hae? - hope he did not eat any of the Rebels! - shant like the Pork if he has - stick to Fetter Lane - clean and wholesome that - Pretty sausages - hae - hae - What does he say?!! talks French hae? hae." The pig, whose snout is close to the King's face, says "We - We - We - ". Beneath it is inscribed 'This Pig measures 5 feet high & 10 feet long.' 7 January 1799
- Production date
Height: 273 millimetres
Width: 385 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
Evidently the Enniscorthy boar, a gigantic and well-formed animal, sent as 'an olive branch' by ex-rebels to be presented to the King and placed in the Tower menagerie as a curiosity. The pig was first shown to the public by its keepers. According to Sir Jonah Barrington, an Irishman from Wexford recognized the animal and announced, to amuse the company, that the Irish attributed its bulk to its having eaten the Protestant clergyman of Enniscorthy after the battle. The King, hearing of this, ordered the animal to be shot at once. Barrington, 'Sketches of his own Times', 1832, iii. 427-36.
Mary Leadbeater writes: 'For several months [after the Rebellion, see BMSat 9228, &c] there was no sale for bacon cured in Ireland, from the well-founded dread of the hogs having fed upon the flesh of men.' 'Leadbeater Papers', 1862, i. 247.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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