- Museum number
- Object: The Northumberland Wig Shop 1826
Below the design: Wigs Dressed and Trimm'd in the Real Independent Fashion by Mr White. A room, arranged as a barber's shop, with heads and busts, caricatured and life-like, in place of barber's blocks (some identified in a contemporary hand). These are ranged on a long shelf and on a long counter-like chest of drawers below it. The barber ('Beaumont'), wearing an apron over fashionable dress, heats his tongs at the fire (left) and is about to perform on Lord Howick, represented by a bust on a turn-table beside him. The central and dominant bust, on a separate bracket, is that of 'Ld Grey' watching Beaumont in angry dismay. He is flanked by the eight whigs on the shelf, all anxious or disgruntled. Four are identified: the first (left) is 'Philipson' (R. P. P., 1799-1879, Solicitor, an active Whig organizer and a protégé of the Lambtons and Greys, afterwards Town Clerk of Newcastle); the second 'Fenwick' (? John Fenwick, 1787-1867, a Baptist, active in Newcastle public life); the fourth, inscribed Sold here Dr Lamhead Quietus for Windy Complaints, is 'Dr Headlam' (Thomas Emerson Headlam, 1777-1864, devoted to Whig party business and a strong supporter of Grey). The eighth is Bacon Grey. Below (left to right) on a separate bracket is a rat with a large head, 'Sir C. M.' (Monck), with a placard To be published An Essay on Taming Lobsters Observations on Grease by C Rat [see BM Satires 15134]. Next, Sir 'M. W. R.' (Matthew White Ridley); 'Grey of Barkworth' (i.e. of Dilston, 1785-1868); 'C. W. B.' (Charles William Bigge, 1773-1849, High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1802). Between two unidentified heads is 'Cully of Akild' (? Matthew Culley, a Northumberland agriculturist, politician, and Reformer, d. 1849).
On the chimneypiece stands a large head in profile, 'Sir J. Swinburne', with a patch over the right eye and a melancholy expression. Above it are an unidentified bust on a bracket, and a portrait of C. J. Fox. On a table (right) is a rolled document headed Report of the Coalition Concluded at Doncaster & at the adjourn [sic] meetg Northumberland. A cat catches a rat. The carpet is patterned with tiny emblematic figures. These include dagger and pen, pistol (see BM Satires 15142), inkpot, rat, pig, fox, ass, ram, goose, goat, bull, medicine-bottle, lobster, a cask, demon's heads. On the hearth-rug is a porcupine attacked by serpents. c. June 1826
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 295 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
A satire on the hostility between Howick and Beaumont, see No. 15129, and on the 'coalition' between Beaumont and Liddell, which, according to Lambton (2 July 1826, misdated 1820), wrecked Howick's chances. 'Mr White' was Beaumont's agent: a squib dated 30 May records: '. . . Mr. White has already a vast surplus of votes . . . all Independent ones . . . . The Wig Fever . . . this dreadful malady has greatly abated.' B.M.L. 8133. h. 2 (iii)). Beaumont's address 'To the Freeholders . . .', 14 March: '. . . the Whig Families of the County have determined to do their best to turn me out, by splitting upon Lord Howick and Mr. Bell.' Ibid. i. When Howick declined the poll he issued a circular letter asking his friends to vote for Bell. Monck, Whig M.P. for Northumberland 1812-20, plumped for Bell in 1826 (see No. 15134). Bigge was a leader of the Northumberland Whigs; he supported Howick but divided his vote between Howick and Bell. (He and Headlam appear in election prints of 1832.) Welford, op. cit.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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