- Museum number
- Object: Theatrical Mendicants, relieved.
Kemble, followed by his brother Charles, and his sister, Mrs. Siddons, holds out his hat, bowing, to the Duke of Northumberland who stands at the gate of Northumberland House in the Strand (right). The great double gate is closed, an inset door opened, scarcely wide enough for the obese and clumsy Duke, who stands with one foot outside it, putting into Kemble's feathered hat a 'Draft for 10,000 Pounds [signed] Northumberland'. Kemble wears tattered theatrical dress, with cloak and vandyked collar and cuffs. A cross hangs from his neck on a chain of beads cf. No. 11426). In his right hand is a paper: 'Donations—Duke of Nord £10000 —Marqs of Abern £1000—Lord Egotist [Erskine, see No. 9246] £1000— . . Mount[joy] 800'. Kemble registers melancholy and eager greed, the other two have similar expressions but are weeping; all are in profile to the right Mrs. Siddons wears black draperies hanging from her hair; her white dress is voluminous and high-waisted. From her arm hangs a large reticule stuffed with papers and inscribed 'Humble Solicitations to the Humane & Benevolent'; letters project from it and fall to the ground, inscribed: 'the most Noble Marquiss of Abercorn', 'The Rt honb Lord Ego— Lord Mountjoy, Duke of —', 'The Right Honl Lord Castler[eagh]', 'His Roy[al Highness] the Prin[ce of Wales']'. Charles Kemble wears fashionable modern dress. Behind, the front of Northumberland House is partly obscured by thick clouds of smoke from the fire of Covent Garden Theatre. These frame fierce flames and broken walls behind which appear the stage-curtain and a few boxes next the stage. In front of the smoke, and in shadow, Harlequin postures, followed by a fool, or zany, both delighted at the success of the begging expedition. Above the design: '—New Dramatic Resource—"a Begging we will go!—a Scene from Covent Garden Theatre after the Conflagration'. After the title '—"have Pity Upon all our Aches & Wantes!—"' [see No. 11424].
15 January 1809.
- Production date
Height: 264 millimetres
Width: 358 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
Covent Garden Theatre was burned down on 20 Sept. 1808. The Duke of Northumberland offered Kemble a loan of £10,000 on his bond, which was returned to be destroyed at the dinner held to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone of the new theatre on 30 Dec. 1808. Boaden relates the generosity, delicacy, and princely charm of the assistance given by the Prince of Wales. Lord Mountjoy was among those calling on the Kembles to condole; he said: 'It will be but 'gratitude' in the people to compensate your loss.' 'Memoirs of J. P. Kemble', 1824, ii. 459-61, 474 f. Presumably the other persons mentioned also subscribed. Its rebuilding led to the O.P. riots, see No. 11414, &c. For an estimate, doubtless exaggerated, of the subscriptions received, see No. 11418.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 368. Wright and Evans, No. 567. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number