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- Object: A tub for the Whale!.
After the title: 'representing an Empty-Barrel tossed out to amuse great Leviathan-John-Bull, in order to divert him from instantly laying violent hands uponye new Coalition Packet - Vide Swifts Preface to the Tale of a Tub.' A sea-monster (l.) with a cavernous mouth spouts two cascades which deluge an open packet-boat (r.) manned by the new Ministry; these are respectively 'Ridicule' and 'Contempt'. The monster has the horns of a bull and a lashing tail which churns up the water. The boat is in danger also from heavy waves; to her broken mast is lashed (with tricolour bands) a broom to which the single patched sail is tied. (A broom at the masthead signified that the ship was for sale.) This sail is filled by a blast from a wind or winged cherub with the head and shoulders of the Prince of Wales, wearing a round hat, with his feathers, and bulky cravat, and surrounded by heavy clouds. Between packet and whale is the barrel thrown out by the crew. This is inscribed 'Real Constitutional Spirits - No Maidstone' with the letters 'MT' [empty]. In the boat are (l. to r.) Erskine, Sheridan, Petty, Grenville (dressed as a naval officer), Windham, Spencer, Fox, Grey, and at the tiller, Lord Ellenborough in wig and gown. The most prominent are Fox and Grey who have just thrown the cask. It looks as if by means of the cask and the Prince the packet will escape the whale, and reach the calmer waters near the horizon. Partly above the horizon is a rising sun (cf. BMSat 10258) inscribed 'Power'; its rays are 'Cheese Parings', 'Candle Ends', 'Pluralities', 'Dissipation', 'Sensuality', 'Libertinism', 'Private Pickings'. 14 March 1806
Hand-coloured etching and aquatint
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 355 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
The 'Maidstone' (ale), abjured by the Ministry, denotes the evidence of Fox, Sheridan, Erskine, and others at the trial of O'Connor at Maidstone which seemed to make them abettors of treason, see BMSat 9245, &c., and (e.g.) BMSats 10082, 10549. Of the inscriptions on the sun-rays 'Cheese Parings' & relate to Windham, see BMSat 9735, 'Dissipation' to Fox and Sheridan, Pluralities to the Grenvilles; Lord Grenville's retention, while First Lord of the Treasury, of the Auditorship of the Exchequer, a lucrative sinecure cf BMSat 8061, was much attacked. See 'Parl. Debates', vi. 140-3, 148-51, 154 f. (3, 4, and 5 Feb.), and BMSats 10564, 10697, 10719. Buckingham had a Tellership of the Exchequer, cf. BMSat 10721. For the new Ministry see BMSat 10531, &c., for its relations with the Prince, BMSat 10525, &c. For the 'tub for the whale' cf. BMSat 5234.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 330. Wright and Evans, No. 312. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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