- Museum number
- Object: Dissolution of Parliament | Satirist 1 November 1812.
Plate from the 'Satirist', xi. 367. A moribund giant, 'Mr Parliament', lies on an ornate bed, decorated with the Royal Arms, with a pelmet inscribed 'Bed of Justice'. A dagger labelled 'By Proclamation' is thrust into his breast; his head is supported by the Speaker, Abbot, who sits on the pillow, his mace beside him, saying to the Clerk: "Order! Order! Clerk take down the words." The Clerk writes, seated on the bed. At the foot of the bed (left) six men gather round a lusty squalling brat, the new Parliament; Whitbread proffers a tankard of 'Whitbr[ead's] Entire', treading on a 'Decoctn of Log Wood' [an imputation on his beer, cf. No. 10794]. Two hold out napkins: one (left) is Ponsonby, leader of the Opposition in the Commons (cf. No. 10969), the other, kneeling, is Burdett. Three others have medicine-bottles: Grattan's is 'Catholicon', Romilly's 'Essence of Laws', Madocks's (or Folkestone's) 'Purgatio Reformatio' [see No. 11334]. Nearer the bed is a rocking-horse centaur with the head of the Lord Mayor, who, holding a mace, says (quoting Raleigh): "Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall." A man climbing up the bed by stepping on a chamber-pot (Waithman), turns to say: "If thy heart fail thee Climb not at all."
On the extreme right five men are grouped round a huge fire in an ornate fire-place, preparing caudle and warming napkins. On the chimney-piece are medicine-bottles, bowl, &c.; above it is an ornately framed picture of two women and an infant, a third figure bending over them. On the right rays and cloud slant towards the bed with two winged figures. Described, but not depicted, as under the bed are Wardle, Sir T. Turton (see No. 11908), and Tarleton (see No. 11910). Others who have fallen into the chamber-pot which will shortly engulf Waithman are Henry Hunt, see No. 11907, Cobbett, and Hallett, see No. 11863. A broken phial of deleterious drugs, 'Alder-Wood' (Alderman Wood, see No. 11909), is said to be depicted; the artist seems to have substituted Whitbread's logwood.
1 November 1812
- Production date
Height: 210 millimetres
Width: 343 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
An anti-Radical satire on the dissolution of Parliament by proclamation on 29 Sept., and on the general election, see No. 11906, &c. The Catholic question had been Grattan's special province in Parliament since 1805. For Romilly's long struggle for administrative law reform and relaxation of the penal code cf. No. 11713. For Burdett and Reform see No. 11551, &c.; Cobbett tried to make it an issue at the election, see 'Pol. Reg.' xxii. 418-33 (3 Oct. 1812). All the invisibles but Cobbett are unsuccessful candidates or former members who did not seek re-election, Hunter the Mayor withdrawing at an early stage, see No. 11906. Wardle, discredited and in debt, see No. 11385, did not stand, though a Westminster politician is said to have raised £4,000 for him.
'Dissolution of Parliament' in the title cropped. Title and signature from B.M.L., P.P. 3558.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number