- Museum number
- Object: "Winding up to a pitch" the automaton Scaramouche - or - Harlequin courier's delight
Bergami, moustachioed, whiskered, and alluring, in a tight-fitting harlequin's suit over which is a short gold-laced jacket, sits on a tall stool, holding up a life-like puppet representing the Queen. He grasps it by the waist, and pulls a ribbon, making arms and legs fly up. She smiles delightedly down at him, her ringlets flying. She wears the décolletée over-dress of No. 14103, open to show frilled and spotted drawers. Bergami, part courier, part Harlequin, has a heavy queue of hair hanging from his black curls, and wears a peaked cap with a big gold tassel. A heavy postilion's whip projects from his pocket. He is directed to the left, towards an open French window and a vine trellis, with a view of Lake Como (see No. 13857). He raises his right leg, looking over his left shoulder, away from his puppet. On the floor are the courier's discarded pistol, powder-flask, holster, and saddle; behind his chair are portmanteaus, one inscribed 'B • B'. A large book propped against a decanter inscribed 'A Boire' is: 'Hop Step and Jump, or, every man his own Courier. List of Postes on the high road from Dunghill, to Barona' [see No. 14119]. A partly dropped curtain (right) reveals two figurines embracing below a shelf of books. The carpet is patterned with hearts.
17 February 1821
- Production date
Height: 265 millimetres
Width: 190 millimetres (trimmed)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
Bergami's brother Louis was said (by Hownam) to have played Harlequin at the Villa d'Este, the Princess being Columbine. The Automaton was a part played by the Princess in a farce composed by herself: a woman (for sale) 'that you could wind up to anything', see No. 14119. 'Parl. Deb.', N.S. iii. 519, 1340. The figurines are statues of Adam and Eve which figured in the case against the Queen. Ibid., 564 ff. The plate is depicted in No. 14206.
De Vinck, No. 10422.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number