- Museum number
- Object: The Dance of Death modernised
Title cropped (from A. de R. xv. 60-2). Arranged in four rows are twenty-four figures, all protesting at being seized by Death, a skeleton. Words are engraved above the head of each speaker. Death is throughout in the attitude of a fantastic dancer, handling some of his partners roughly or grotesquely, the skull registering grisly amusement.  Death grasps the hand of a man in royal robes, and holds up in triumph the crown snatched from his victim's head: Return the Diadem, and I'll follow you.  A fat woman wearing a tiara and jewels (resembling caricatures of Catherine II) says: Fellow!—I am an Empress.  A fashionably dressed young woman says: Indeed Sir—I am too young!!  An aged man hobbling with a stick, says: My good friend, I am too old I assure you!!  A fat and drink-blotched parson, holding a pipe, says: I can't leave the company till I've finished my pipe, and bottle.  A dancing-master capers hand in hand but reluctantly with the skeleton, holding his dancing-master's kit in his left hand: I never practised such an Allemande [cf. No. 5082], as this, since I have been a Dancing Master!!  A man in black, wearing bands and holding a tricorne hat draped with a mourning-scarf, says: a pretty Dance this—for an Undertaker.  A fat bishop is seized by the nose and the neck-cloth; he says: I can't go— I am a Bishop!!  A cardinal is seized by his bare right foot, the other foot being shod; he says: Zounds take care of my great toe, or I shall never rise higher than a Cardinal!!  An elderly doctor in old-fashioned dress clutches his cane, holding the head against his mouth while Death drags at it with both hands: Here's fine encouragement for the Faculty! [n] A barrister in wig, gown, and spectacles, exclaims: The Law is always exempt by the Statutes!  A grotesque sailor, with a wooden leg, and wearing a petticoat above
breeches, holds a cudgel; he says: Why D------me I'm one of your Apprentices!!
 A lean, ugly, and terrified dissenting preacher says: If you wont take I— I'll never mention you or the Devil in my Sarmons, as long as I lives!!  Death holds up the money-bag of an emaciated miser who says: Spare my money, and I'll go contented.  An elderly man, in odd, old-fashioned dress, holding a pen, and with a large paper or slate under his arm, says: I am only a poor School-master and sets good examples in the Willage!  An old maid, lean, aged, and spectacled, protests: Let me but stay till I am married and I'll ask no longer time.  A paunchy citizen says: If you detain me in this way my venison will be quite cold.  A fat woman with a patched face, wearing a fur-bordered cloak and large hat, says: You may call me old Bawd if you please but I am sure I have always been a Friend to your Worship!  A thin elderly man, hat in hand, says: I am but a poor Poet, and always praised the Ode to your honor, written by the late King of Prussia!  A handsome young woman, with feathers in her hair, holding a fan, says: Don't be so boisterous you filthy Wretch, I am a Woman of Fashion.  A racing 'blood', wearing a spencer, swathed neck-cloth, and top-boots, and holding a riding-switch, says: I assure you—I am engaged at New Market.  A gouty old man, wearing slashed shoes and a night-cap over an ill-fitting wig, capers, saying, Buzaglo's Exercise was nothing to this!  An elderly man, with spectacles on his forehead, holds a newspaper, World [in reversed letters]. He says: Stay till I have finished the News paper, for I am told there is great intelligence from the Continent!  Death and a beggar dance hand in hand. The latter wears tattered clothes of quasi-fashionable type, with a belt buckled round his coat: This is the Universal Dance from a King to a Beggar!
Etching with hand-colouring
- Production date
Height: 558 millimetres
Width: 695 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
Perhaps a reissue; the costume and allusions suggest a date not later than c. 1795-7. Frederick II is 'the late' King of Prussia. For the death of Catherine II in 1796 see No. 8844. For the exercises of Buzaglo (d. 1788) for gout see No. 6322. Large prints of this type were published c. 1794, cf. (e.g.) No. 8552.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number