- Museum number
- Object: The comet of 1811
An adaptation in reverse of No. 7508 by Sayers. The Prince's head, set in a star which is the head of the comet, is as in No. 7508 except for the addition of a stock between the wings of the coat-collar. In the comet's tail the first profile head is that of Moira, replacing Sheridan who is in the second place, between and in front of Erskine and a partly concealed profile perhaps intended for Ponsonby. Next are the Duke of Norfolk and Lord Derby. Behind them are (?) Tierney and a good-looking military officer. Next come three Grenvilles abreast: Lord Temple between Lord Grenville (on his right) and the spectacled Buckingham. Behind them are Whitbread, holding up a frothing tankard of his 'Entire', and Lansdowne. Behind these are Grey, and (partly obscured) Lord Carlisle. Two heads with faces hidden are on the extreme right.
Hand-coloured etching with aquatint
- Production date
Height: 243 millimetres
Width: 301 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
The original, published just before the announcement of the King's recovery in 1789, anticipated a short period of office for the Opposition during a regency. Sheridan, Norfolk, and Derby appear in both prints. In December 1810 the King was again insane, and the question of a regency was urgent. During January the Grenvilles were Cabinet-making, anticipating office (as in 1804, cf. No. 10252). The position of Moira and Sheridan, detached from the others and in front, corresponds with their position as the friends of the Prince, who had disliked Grey and was ill-disposed to Grenville. The lord-lieutenancy of Ireland was destined for Moira, but Sheridan was ignored and even slighted in the discussions. See 'H.M.C., Dropmore Papers,' x. 98, 104-8; Buckingham, 'Memoirs of the Court of the Regency', 1856, i. 13 ff.; Holland, 'Further Memoirs of the Whig Party', 1905, p. 72; Romilly, 'Memoirs', under date 6 Feb. 1811. In 1811, as in 1788-9, a comet was visible, but this was Pons, first discovered in March, see No. 11810, &c. For the Regency see also Nos. 11706, 11707, 11708, 11709, 11713, 11846.
Sometimes attributed to Gillray, who was lapsing into insanity. The heads in the comet's tail seem to be copied from heads by him in various prints.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number