- Museum number
- Object: Samson pulling down the Pillars
Satire on the alleged continuing influence of Lord Bute and its destructive effect, an illustration to the Political Register for August 1767. Bute, as Samson naked except for a tartan loin cloth and Scotch bonnet, pulls down four pillars which support the temple of the state; one falls in pieces, the others, about to fall are inscribed: 'Accession of the House of Brunswick / Revolution 1688 / Magna Charta'. The pediment falls in fragments, from it falls a figure of Liberty, with with her staff and cap, Westminster Hall, a number of judges, a dome resembling that of St Paul's, the cross on the summit of which is held by a bishop. Other figures are falling headlong ('Lords, Counsellors, or Priests'): on the left, Lord Chatham with his crutches, the Marquis of Granby with a sword, and Admiral with a trident; on the right, the king, his crown having fallen from his head, the queen and the two young princes, two other crowns are falling as well as a mitre. The lowest objects, those which were the first to be hurled down, are Britannia, the Irish harp, and a broken anchor. Clouds and lightning form a background. Beneath the design are engraved the eighteen lines from Samson Agonistes ending 'Samson with these immixed, inevitably / Pull'd down the same destruction on himself'.
Etching and engraving
- Production date
Height: 133 millimetres (image)
Height: 192 millimetres (trimmed?)
Width: 110 millimetres (image)
Width: 125 millimetres (trimmed?)
- Curator's comments
- Frederick Augustus, Duke of York (1763-1827) was created Bishop of Osnabruck in 1764.
The plate was later altered in 1773, replacing Bute with Lord North, for the Oxford Magazine X 217 (see BM Sat.5126).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number