- Museum number
- Object: Design for a scene in the intended new melo drama intitled the Forty Thieves
On the left. Fox stands at his tavern-door, which is at r. angles to the front of the house (r.), where a large open sash-window faces the spectator. Below the window is a large inscription: 'C. J. F & Co. Dealers Rectifiers and Compounders [the 'nf' of 'confounders' is scored through, and replaced by 'mp'] of foreign Spirits'. Beside the window are chequers, indicating the sale of ale; below them: 'Whitbreads intire' [cf. BMSat 10421]. Over the door is the sign: a crown, and 'The Case is Altered' [cf. BMSat 9714], with a bunch of grapes indicating the sale of wine. Fox, very neat and debonair, with a napkin under his arm, a corkscrew in his coat-pocket, a typical tavern-keeper or head-waiter, smiles at a ragged, Bohemian-looking fellow, who approaches him, with outstretched left hand, a large book under his right. arm inscribed 'Pl[an] of Reform'. The ragged reformer says: "Ah! Citizen, how do you do. I've just finisd my plan of Reform, and as you have no plan we can as well be going on with that as doing nothing." Fox, his hand thrust in his coat-pocket, answers: "Citizen!!! we-go-on-with your plan!!! I dont understand you Oh!. I suppose you mean what I used to gammon my Custommers with when I lived over the way, but that sort of fun wont do now, we are all different people!"
Within the open window members of the new Ministry are seated drinking, as if at a tavern-club meeting, with Erskine, wearing a hat and Chancellor's wig and gown, in the chairman's seat, which is surmounted by the Prince of Wales's feathers (see BMSat 10525); he holds the mace. On the left. (or Erskine's r.) are Sheridan (a bottle of 'Sherry' in front of him), Grey, and Lauderdale. Opposite them are (r. to left.): Grenville, Bedford, Moira (wearing a cocked hat and smoking a long pipe), Petty, and (slightly isolated) Sidmouth. These heads are after Gillray. They sing (prophetically):
"And let them be merry merry there
And we'll be merry merry here,
For who does know where we may be
To be merry another year." 25 March 1806
- Production date
Height: 245 millimetres
Width: 346 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
Despite the Foxite Secession on the rejection of Grey's motion for reform, see BMSat 9018, there could be no question of reform in the circumstances of the new Coalition, see BMSat 10530. The question was in abeyance, almost forgotten, till 1809. For 'the Coalition Punch-house by Charles & Co' cf. 'The State Vintners', BMSat 6245 (1783); for 'The Forty Thieves', BMSat 10459, &c.
The etched date "1805" (clearly incorrect) has been altered in pen to "1806".
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number