- Museum number
- Object: The Jacobin, or Surly Bob
Satire; a Jacobin pigeon adapted to be a portrait of the Lord Chancellor, Robert Henley, Earl of Northington. The head comprises the wig of a Lord Chancellor, for which the peculiar head ornament of a Jacobin pigeon was represented in long rolls before and behind the face. The bands of the judge are placed about the neck of the bird, its body is clad in a a sort of legal robe, and the gown is represented by the bird's spreading, dependent wings. The Jacobin has "The Bill of Rights" and "Magna Charta" under his feet. The head has a laughable likeness to that represented in portraits of Lord Northington; the nose is big and prominent, like a beak, the eyes protrude like a bird's; the teeth having fallen out, and the long thin chin pointing downwards increase the bird-like look of the satire.
- Production date
- 1766 (circa)
Height: 154 millimetres
Width: 113 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description, date and comment from F.G. Stephens, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', vol. IV)
Robert Henley was appointed Attorney-General in 1756; Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, 1757; Lord Henley of the Grange, Hampshire, 1760; Lord Chancellor, Jan. 16, 1761; Earl of Northington, 1764; Lord President of the Council, 1766; the last post he resigned in Dec. 1769. He died in 1772. See "A Portrait of Lord Chancellor the Earl of Northington", BM Satires 4105. It is probable he is here named after a Jacobin pigeon on account of his association with Lord Bute, a reputed Jacobite, or advocate of "Stuart" principles. Lord Northington was Chancellor during the prosecution of Wilkes, see "John Wilkes Esqr", BM Satires 4050. In the course of these proceedings, it was averred that both the Bills of Rights and Magna Charta were overridden. The designation "Surly Bob" may be illustrated by the notices preserved in the "Letters" of Horace Walpole, and by other authorities; the former wrote, Dec. 29, 1763, to the Earl of Hertford a very apt illustration of this subject; see a letter by the same to Sir H. Mann, April 5 1767. To the Countess of Suffolk, Walpole wrote like wise, Oct. 6,m 1766, and in his "Memoires of the last ten Years of the Reign of George the Second", vol. i,. p. 83., p. 357, is more on the same. "We learn from the same writer (Lord Henley's Lfe of Northington) that the bad state of Lord Northington's health, and his frequent disagreements with his colleagues, had for some months made him desirous of an honourable and quiet retreat. There is no doubt, both from his own letters, and the traditions still extant at the bar, that his habits of hard labour and extreme conviviality had by this time undermined his constitution, much to the deterioration of his temper." See " Lives of the Lord Chancellors", by John, Lord Campbell, 1 85 7, vi., p. 338
The "dove house" was the Earl of Northington's seat, The Grange, Hampshire, where "jacobin" pigeons might be expected to exist. Jacobin pigeons are an ornamental breed with reversed feathers around the neck suggesting a hood.
An impression of this is found bound into 'Veluti in Speculum' (2010,7081.1502)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number