- Museum number
- Object: Modern reformers in council,-or-patriots regaling.
After the title: '—vide the Resolutions of the Spa Fields & Spencean Societies.' Henry Hunt presides at a meeting of revolutionary conspirators, giving the toast: "Damnation to the House of Brunswick." He stands in the centre of the design behind the table round which the men are grouped, looking to the left, holding up a goblet made from a skull and inscribed 'Blood'; in his left hand he supports a pole surmounted by a cap of Liberty with tricolour cockade. He wears a bonnet rouge with tricolour favour (probably intended to represent his red election favour), a double-breasted blue coat with tricolour cockade and a tricolour belt in which are thrust pistols and a dagger. As chairman he has the only chair; behind its back is a guillotine, inscribed 'To be Put in Motion Soon', and topped by two headsman's axes centred by a skull wearing a bonnet rouge. Behind it are two large tricolour flags, the red predominating and forming a background to Hunt's head. The toast is received with silent ferocity. On the extreme left Thistlewood sits in profile to the right on a powder-barrel, against which leans a 'Challenge to Ld Sidmouth'; he grasps a skull-goblet inscribed 'Venom' and holds a blunderbuss inscribed with his name. He wears a bonnet rouge with tricolour cockade, a sailor's jacket (as at the trial for high treason in 1817), and striped trousers. He fixes Hunt with a ferocious scowl. Beside him is a bull-dog with 'Caleb Baldwin' on its collar. Behind his head is a placard on the wall: 'St Hellena The Escape of the French Emperor.' Next him a fat ruffian, hairy and ragged, sits on a barrel of '[G]un Powder To blow up . . . House of Lords'; under his arm is a spiked bludgeon. He wears a red election favour on the back of his shirt or jacket and 'Hunt for ever' is inscribed on the back of his breeches. Beside him are bullets and metal balls covered with spikes. Opposite him, and on the farther side of the table, stands Gale Jones, melancholy and cadaverous, his head in profile to the right, holding up a skull-goblet inscribed 'Gall'. He is ragged and wears a red election favour. On the wall behind him is a placard: 'Gale Jones his Speech . . the last me[eting].' Facing Hunt, in profile to the left, and a prominent figure is a cobbler, presumably Thomas Preston, seated on a stool. He is burly and ragged, with bare arms and blood-stained hands, and smokes a pipe; he raises a skull-goblet in his left hand, and extends his right arm, holding a hammer. Under his feet are pikes-under his stool is a last, and against it leans a book: 'Trial for Treason of Watson Prestn &...'; through this a knife is thrust. Next him, his head in profile to the left, is James Watson, lean, barelegged, and ragged, seated on an apothecary's upturned mortar. He smokes a pipe with grim malevolence. Various objects are tied to his back: an 'Old Stocking full of Gunpowder Spa Fields', a clyster-pipe inscribed 'A Clyster for the Regent', a syringe 'for the Horse Guads'. At his feet is a large bottle inscribed 'Poison of Contention'. Behind him are medicine-bottles, two labelled 'for Olliver' and 'Casels' [Castles]. Next him and on the extreme right is a butcher seated on a box of 'Arms' from which weapons project. He has a pipe in his mouth, and scowls fiercely, raising a skull-goblet inscribed 'Blood'. Under his arm is a chopper. Three others are close together on the farther side of the table and on Hunt's left. The most prominent is Wooler, much caricatured, as an African, and with 'Black Dwarf' on his bonnet rouge (see No. 12982). On Hunt's right is a man clutching a dagger. The bonnet rouge is worn by all present. On the table are an ink-pot and papers: 'Plan of Attack. Place of Rendezvous'; 'Plan of the Tower Treasurey Resolut[ions]'; 'Corres . . . ence Proceedings against Church & State'; 'Key to the Royal Bed Cham[ber] Calton [sic] Ho[use]'; 'More Blood.'
Pictures and prints are on the dilapidated wall. On the left above Thistle-wood and Gale Jones are two bust portraits framed in bones: one of 'Tom Payne' as a Jacobin, shouting; one of 'Napoleon' with the drawn profile characteristic of prints of 1814. He wears a bonnet rouge. Between the portraits a bleeding corpse-head fixed to the wall supports a candle. On the right are two prints, one of the burning and plundering of the 'Bank of England', the other of a judge hanging from a gibbet-shaped lamp-post, 'Gas Light Gibbet'.
3 July 1818
- Production date
Height: 253 millimetres
Width: 359 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
A satire on the Spa Fields revolutionaries and their association with Hunt in relation to the latter's candidature for Westminster, see No. 12999, &c., where he obtained a majority by a show of hands on 18 June (from the voteless crowd) but was hopelessly beaten at the poll, see No. 13006. Gale Jones (see vols. vii, viii) seconded Hunt's nomination, Preston supported it. Caleb Baldwin had been arrested during the election for 'an outrage' against one of the friends of Burdett. 'Examiner', 1818, 28 June, p. 406. On 2 Dec. 1817 Thistlewood and Watson had called on the soldiers in the Tower to surrender, and a plan of the Tower and of the contemplated operations had been found at Watson's lodgings. On Watson's acquittal on a charge of high treason, see No. 12887, proceedings against Thistlewood, Preston, and Hooper were dropped. Thistlewood continued to conspire, but was in prison for sending a challenge to Lord Sidmouth. Hunt was more demagogue than revolutionary, at times quarrelling with and avoiding, at times co-operating with Thistlewood and his group. Hooper and the two Evanses are presumably among the four unidentified figures. Theme and treatment recall Gillray's 'London Corresponding Society, Alarm'd', see No. 9202. (The elder Evans links the two scenes.)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number