- Museum number
- Object: The effusions of a troubled brain, or Evil communications corrupt good manners.
A fantastic and complicated design. Queen Caroline leans back in an arm-chair, pen in hand, staring as if at a vision, her black locks flying outwards and upwards. Above her head, as if sprung from it, is an owl with the cross of the Order of St. Caroline (see No. 13810) in its beak, and on its head a fool's cap with bells. She wears a décolletée dress with voluminous gathered trousers, as in many prints; her right foot is placed regally on a footstool. Her right arm rests on a table and on the paper on which she writes: To the King. She listens to a serpent held up by Dr. Parr, brandyfaced and naked except for his wig, one of several figures pressing round her, partly obscured by shadow. Lieut. Hownam looks over her right shoulder, two other faces are partly hidden, one may be Flinn, the other resembles Burdett. The aquiline profile of Hobhouse is behind Parr. On the right stands a broom, supporting a wig and gown (Brougham); another wig and gown beside it must indicate Denman; both are in back view. On the left and in the foreground stands Wood, as a devil, hairy and naked except for a furred gown, symbol of the alderman. He turns towards her, holding a baton, topped by a little cap of Liberty, and strings attached to two tiny processions: a state-coach (the Queen's) drawn by four horses and a band of armoured men on horseback, with banners, one inscribed Brass [the braziers' procession, see No. 14119]. They are surrounded by clouds of dust. Over his shoulder look Cobbett, wearing a red cap with tricolour cockade and brandishing a bone (Paine's, see No. 13525). To left and right of these advisers are evil gangs (cf. No. 14194): a procession (left) of men with tall staves or pikes topped by caps of Liberty, and with a tricolour banner inscribed No Church no King no Constitution Universal Suffrage & Annual Plunder for ever. They wave their hats and cheer; their leader wears an apron. Above them floats a figure of Justice holding scales and a crown. Behind on the right naked arms raise firebrands, fanatical faces loom from the shadow; one at least has the snaky locks of Discord.
The ornate round table at which the Queen writes is piled with boxes; on the largest, inscribed Secrets of the Baron, stands a small lifelike image of Bergami dressed as a courier. Other objects are a wallet from which projects a paper: 50,000 Per Ann [see No. 14145], a vase of flowers, a decanter labelled (punningly) Tent [see No. 13818]. On the floor are two figurines, one in back view, the other of Mahomet dancing (see No. 13929). At the Queen's feet are her much-feathered four-cornered cap, and papers, one headed My dear Ca . . . and signed BB [Bartolomeo Bergami], the other beginning My dear C and signed Mat. [Wood]. By the broom are bulky bundles of papers: Brooming Correspondence and Defence of Moth[er Red Cap, see No. 13975].
The owl is the base of an irregular inverted cone, formed of cloud-borne objects from the Queen's head. These are: Cobbets Register, The Times (see No. 13968), The Champion (see No. 13677), realistically depicted; three conical caps of Liberty with tricolour cockades inscribed respectively Bat, Cat, Mat [for Bergami, the Queen, and Wood; the title of a print, see No. 14206 ]; Letters to Watch Makers [of] Coventry C B, over which hangs a watch and chain. Two large sketch-books, open:  Journal of a Tour to Jerusalem [see No. 13918, &c.] with a view of a large mosque inscribed Temple of Solomon C.B del.  [Mem]oranda of the [Vi]lla d Este, facing a view of a large lake-side villa (see No. 13857); this partly covers a third sketch: [Bucki]ngham House [the Queen's House as in No. 14175]. Three large bundles of letters: Letters to the Baron [Bergami]; Wooden Headed Addresses Below Par; Answers to Addresses above Par [i.e. composed by Parr, see No. 13934]. In a picture of a royal coach drawn by six horses and with three footmen behind the tiny passenger seems to be the Queen. Next this along the upper edge of the cone are pieces of plate decorated with a crown: urn, salver, goblet, candlestick, spoons, &c, with a paper: Plate Subscription.
10 July 1821
- Production date
Height: 397 millimetres (trimmed)
Width: 298 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
The Queen seems to write one of her memorials 'To the King's most Excellent Majesty in Council . . .', praying to be crowned at the approaching Coronation. Brougham addressed the Council on her behalf on 5 July; on 10 July the Council decided that a Queen Consort had no right of coronation. Examiner, 15 July, pp. 441 f. The watch was presented by a deputation from Coventry on 14 June. Ibid., p. 378. It was exhibited at Coventry 5-6 June, when further subscriptions were asked for, giving John Bull (10 June) an opportunity to assert that 20,000 inhabitants had not yet raised £60. In 1820 a subscription for a service of plate for the Queen was set on foot (cf. No. 14182), the treasurer being Wood; for the trustees, &c, see B.M.L. 1852. b. 9/10. John Bull (i. 324-5, 348, 356) alleged that the plate was never bought or the money accounted for. For another service of plate see No. 13768. For the Queen's attempt to be crowned see also Nos. 14197, 14200, 14202, 14203, 14205. The design seems to derive from No. 7721, Gillray's satire on Thicknesse Inspir'd by Alecto'. Cf. also the smoke-borne visions from Burke's over-heated brain in No. 8825 and from Canning's in Delicious Dreams!, No. 10979 (imitated in No. 14175). The pl. appears in No. 14206.
De Vinck, No. 10451.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number