- Museum number
Execution of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, 1606, study for a print; the men being dragged along behind horses into a square lined with crowds of people, one figure on the gallows, another being quartered, a group watching from a roof at right foreground, others at windows in a building opposite
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, with lines indented for transfer
- Production date
- 1606 (circa)
Height: 239 millimetres
Width: 342 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is a prelimary drawing for a print. For impressions of the etching made by Visscher, see 1848,0911.452 and 1880,1113.3270.
Stainton & White 1987, cat.no.32
Preparatory drawing for the etching in reverse, which is inscribed "N. de Visscher fecit" ('BM Satires' 69). The event takes place in an imaginary setting in a town square with a throng of spectators witnessing the various methods used for executing traitors - hanging, boiling, and drawing and quartering; other criminals are stretched out on hurdles and dragged by horse. The two angels above are identified in the print as "Justitia" and "Fama" while the cartouche they support is inscribed "SUPPLICIUM".
The execution of eight of the conspirators in the plot took place on 30 and 31 January 1606. The previous year they had attempted to blow up the Palace of Westminster on the opening day of Parliament, when the royal family, the Privy Council and both Houses would have been assembled, as a consequence of their anger at the failure of James I to improve the position of Catholics in England.
Hind assumed that the print was contemporary with the event represented, which is certainly suggested by the style of the drawing; that neither work can be by the son Nicolaes, who was only born in 1618, and that both are by Claes Jansz. Visscher. It should, however, be noted that the latter, who abbreviated his christian name, usually signed his prints with his initials, CJV, in a monogram. The style of the drawing is very close to that of David Vinckeboons, and since his designs were engraved by Visscher he may well be its author. A similar example of possible confusion between the two artists occurs in a drawing of the 'Truce between Spain and the United Provinces of 1609', which was also engraved by Visscher (F. Lugt, 'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris: Inventaire Général des Dessins des Écoles du Nord', I, Paris, 1950, no. 711, pl. cxii).
Other prints dealing with the Gunpowder Plot were published on the Continent, including, for example, one by Simon van de Passe (1595-1647) ('BM Satires' 71).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 Jun-Aug, BM, 'Hilliard to Hogarth'
1987 Sep-Nov, New Haven, 'Hilliard to Hogarth'
2012 London, BM, Shakespeare
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Gunpowder Plot 1606
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number