- Museum number
- Object: Ghost as seen in the Hamlet of St Stephens chapel.
Scene in the House of Lords at the Queen's 'trial', showing the throne against the end wall, with the two (temporary) galleries. The Queen exclaims in terror, both arms raised, at the sight of the first witness against her, Majocchi, and of the ghost of Princess Charlotte, who stands, draped in white, beside him, holding her infant, with an arm extended towards the Queen. The latter shrieks: "Theodore!! my Daughter too! ah! what have I done!!! Oh speak." The ghost, garbling Hamlet's words (III. iv, ll. 40-5; 92-4): "Such an Act good Mother, as blurs the / "Grace and Blush of Modesty, calls Virtue Hippocrite / "makes marriage vows as false as Dicers Oaths—Oh / "such a deed! to live in the rank sweat of an / ensemen'd bed stived [sic] in Corruption." Majocchi says: "Non mi Ricardo" [sic]. Beside the Queen, and on the extreme right, are Brougham and Denman, her counsel; they hold documents inscribed 'Defence of the Queen' and 'Queens Defence'. Both register astonished horror: Brougham exclaims (misquoting 'Hamlet', I. ii): "All is not well—I doubt / "some foul play!—for foul / "deeds, will rise—." Denman: "'Tis very strange!" ['Hamlet', I. ii]. The prosecuting counsel (left) are equally disturbed: Gifford, grasping the 'Bill of Pains [and P]enalties', exclaims, misquoting Horatio ['Hamlet', I. i]: "Behold it starteth like / "a guilty thing upon a shamefull "Summons." Copley: "Angels and Ministers / "of Grace defend us" ['Hamlet', I. iv]. A seated judge turns to them, pointing to the Queen, saying: "Look to the Queen!!" ['Hamlet', v. ii]. There is a background of peers, freely indicated, all startled, while spectators watch from the galleries. In the centre foreground a large green bag (see No. 13735) stands on the floor, from which clouds of smoke emerge; it has a strap (unbuckled) in the form of a huge Garter, inscribed 'Ho[ni]... Pense'. On the bag is a garbled version of Macbeth's words (I. ii): "Will all great Neptune's Ocean wash this Blood clean from this Bag? No! rather shall this Bag the multitudinous Realm incarnadine making the Green one Red."
- Production date
Height: 233 millimetres
Width: 331 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
The so-called trial was a Bill of Pains and Penalties (technically a private Bill, see No. 13901) to deprive Caroline of the style of Queen and the rights of Queen Consort, with a clause for divorce, introduced into the Lords by Liverpool on 17 Aug., in which the procedure was judicial, the evidence based on the depositions in the Green Bag (see No. 13735), the witnesses chiefly Italian (see No. 13762, &c.). When the first witness Majocchi (see No. 13827, &c.) was called on 21 Aug. the Queen rose, exclaiming 'Theodore! no! no!', or by other accounts 'Traditore', or an inarticulate cry, and hurried from the House. 'Parl. Deb.', N.S., ii. 804; 'Ann. Reg.', 1820, p. 986; Trevelyan, 'Lord Grey of the Reform Bill', 1929, p. 194. Others believed it planned if not rehearsed: 'Poor maniac! . . . Everyone felt disgusted at her impudence and convinced of her guilt.' H. E. Fox, 'Journal', 1923, p. 41 f.; Lady C. Lindsay was of the same opinion, 'Journal of Miss Berry', 1866, iii. 253 f. See No. 13932. The inscription on the Green Bag connotes the attempt of the Radicals to use the affair to inflame the populace, Cobbett writing the Queen's answers to many of the Addresses which poured in. See Halévy, 'Hist, of the English People, 1815-1830', p. 100 f. and No. 13763, &c. For the 'Trial' see Hayter's picture in the National Portrait Gallery. It is the subject, explicitly or implicitly, of most of the prints from this date until its abandonment, see No. 13986.
Reproduced, Shane Leslie, 'George IV', 1926, p. 108.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number