- Museum number
- Object: The progress of cant.
An intricate design in outline with many inscriptions. In the foreground a procession with banners moves slowly from right to left, joined by others from the middle distance. On the extreme right a ragged drunken and degraded reveller, with bandaged head and bludgeon, supports himself on a post inscribed Vnder Government MDCCCXXV. In his hat is an election favour and the inscription Purity of Election. He puts a purse in his pocket; on the ground is a paper: To the Worthy & Independent Electors of Old Sarum Constitution [of] Our Fathers Representation Englishmen Civil & Religious Liberty. Redeem Pedges [sic] Public Principles Country Conscientious Vote. Constituents Laws Reform. Beside him stands a sanctimonious man in quasi-clerical dress holding a banner inscribed Tract Society [cf. BM Satires 15406] and a paper inscribed Eternity; his pocket bulges with papers, including Pious Thoughts is N° 1000 and True Elect. Near them on the ground is a pile of books and papers, the largest, Kant, lies on Opie on Lying [Mrs. Amelia Opie's Illustrations of Lying, 1825], Family Shakespeare [ed. Bowdler, 1818], and Angelical Mag: Others are Mulock's Let . . . [? by Thomas Mulock who wrote (1819) against atheism and blasphemy]; A Fletcher's Appeal [see BM Satires 14700, &c]; The Injured Foote [see BM Satires 14711, &c.]; Political Tracts; Jones's Hymns; Hohenlohe [see BM Satires 14816]; and music headed What is Prayer?
In the next group (right centre), an artisan is on his back, lying on his broken-shafted banner, Peace To The World, and furiously resisting the savage onslaught of another artisan who pounds him with the pole of a banner inscribed United Schools. An Irishman joins in fiercely, with a banner of Irish Conciliation. A barelegged Scot in a very short kilt smugly watches the fray; he has a double banner: Scotch Charity and Naked And Ye Clothed Me. Close by stands a female figure, as if stuffed, dressed like Mrs. Fry, with a heavy chatelaine of keys, scissors, and pin-cushion, and a label: Made by the Females in Newgate [see BM Satires 14059]. Behind (right) is a younger woman, similarly dressed, slim and demure, with a banner: Newgatory Instruction. A Mephistophelian devil, fashionably dressed, with horns, hooves, and tail, carries a banner, Freedom For The Blacks, and leers over his shoulder at a fat trollope or bawd whose ragged dress and broken scissors travesty Mrs. Fry; she leers back at him; her banner is Fry for Ever. Next Mrs. Fry a ragged, degraded-looking creature advances on his knees, helped by a stick in each hand. He wears a cap inscribed March of Mind [see BM Satires 15178].
A sturdy beadle holding his official staff, reversed, left hand in pocket, whence hangs a streamer inscribed Vagrant Act, scowls at the ground; he wears a cocked hat, nosegay, and a passion-flower. At his heels is a savagely barking dog, its collar inscribed Office. A rapacious-looking bishop stands behind, with a banner, The Church in Danger. A fat butcher, with steel and cleaver hanging from his waist, holds a banner, London University [see BM Satires 14788, &c]; a fat, pig-faced little boy drawing a toy-lamb on a string holds his father's arm. Next the butcher is a carpenter in a paper cap, with a banner inscribed Nick's Institution. Behind them a woman and man with a broken hat embrace amorously while a diminutive Jew picks his pocket. Their banners are, respectively, Goodwill to Men, School for Adults, and Converted Jews. An effeminate dandy, hatless and wearing large spectacles, has a banner: Let the Shop Close With The Jessamine. In front of the butcher (left) is a scavenger in a smock, with a streamer hanging from his whip inscribed Knowledge is Power. A ragged sandwich-man with a small figure of Punch hanging from his pocket holds a placard: The Preservation Of Public Morals; his back is placarded: Subscription for Putting down Bartlemy Fair. He faces a barber ('Rickets') who stands outside his shop pointing up at the tattered cloth hanging from the striped pole and inscribed Nobody Is To Be S—aved During Divine Service By Command of the Magistracy.
A fat woman seated in a basket with a squalling infant on her lap sells fruit from a trestle-table to two repulsive-looking children, boy and girl. On the extreme left and in profile to the right is a sturdy beggar, barely covered with rags, who supports himself on a crutch, his leg bent back at the knee; on his bandaged head is a notice: Crippled By A Injury From a Bear-Bodkin; he holds out a Mendicity Ticket. On the ground (left) is a paper: New Times!!! [cf. BM Satires 14207]. Profanation of the Sabbath H. Rickets & Sarah Grumpage the former for Shaving & the latter for selling fruit on the Lords Day were convicted on the oath of the notorious Johnson & fined 10s each.
Other characters in the middle distance, or close behind the foreground figures, are (right to left) a man (? French) wearing apron, cap, and slippers, but foppish, who sells fruit from a tray slung from his shoulders; a fat schoolboy with a banner inscribed Missionary Penny Subscriptions, looks at it covetously, hand in pocket. A lank-haired sectary holding a banner inscribed Whitfield and Wesley points upward; beside him walks an evil-looking fellow whose banner is Saving Bank. A sweep riding an ass, his brush across his shoulder, wears a large top-hat (indicating a follower of H. Hunt) inscribed Reform. A bareheaded cleric has a banner inscribed Let Every Child Have Its Bib. A little man wearing a jockey-cap riding a wretched horse with a braided mane, turns to slash at a small boy who tries to clamber on the horse's hindquarters, with the words No Climbing Boys. His banner is Martin for Ever [see BM Satires 14798, &c.]. A bearded and spectacled Jew wearing two hats has a banner topped by pawnbroker's balls, and inscribed The Equitable Loan [see BM Satires 14653, &c.]. Beside him is a ragged man with a bandaged head whose banner is Gall and Spurs-Him [indicating Phrenology, see BM Satires 12839]. A small rollicking man with a wooden leg wearing a cocked hat holds up a banner inscribed No Treadmill [see BM Satires 14406]. A man with a constable's staff in his pocket (indicating Scott's association with Constable), his head eclipsed by his hat and holding a book, has a banner: The Great Unknown [see BM Satires 14825]. A funeral mute, grinning, holds up his crape-topped staff to which is attached a streamer: No Life In London [cf. BM Satires 14320]. A minister in gown and bands (Edward Irving) stands full-face, squinting; his banner is No Theatre [see BM Satires 14670]. Two men face each other, one holding a banner inscribed No More State Lotteries [see BM Satires 14525], the other, who puts up a hand to catch a ball, has a banner inscribed The Caledonian Chap. A spectacled man (Hobhouse) walks with a banner: The Cause of Greece [cf. BM Satires 15146]. A plump and prosperous nonconformist minister, with Silver Street in his pocket, has a banner inscribed No Fat Livings. A printer in a paper cap, his face covered with a mask (implying the anonymous libel) holds up Liberty Of The Press. A barrister with a bludgeon (O'Connell) holds up Catholic Claims.
Buildings and hoardings form the background. On the right is the corner of a house inscribed Seneca House Academy For Young Gentlemen. By Dr Alex— Sanderson. A boy leans from an upper window towards a less prosperous building placarded Prospect House Establishment For Young Ladies By the Misses Grace & Prudence Gregory and Prospect House Ladies School. One girl leans from a window towards the boy, another peeps from a closed window. A window high up in the gable-end of the building is heavily (and needlessly) barred. The boys' school is enclosed by a high wall, heavily spiked. Above this appears a tree from which a kite dangles, inscribed Prospectus—Health and Comfort—Seneca House Universal Erudition 20gs pr An.—Morals Church of England Principles Knife & Fork. The tail has papers inscribed Grammar, Geography, Horace, Martial, and (larger) Chambaud [Lewis Chambaud, author of a textbook, 'The Treasure of the French and English languages . . .', 2nd ed., 1762]. The wall, though placarded Stick No Bills, is covered with overlapping bills and inscriptions. A bill-sticker places a bill over one inscribed And The Revd Dr Rudge. A Collection will be made At The Door; it is Grand Display Fives Court For the Benefit of Ben Burn [pugilist]. Other bills are The Lucky Corner Pidd Two of 2000 one of 30000 [see BM Satires 14694] followed by other numbers; Champaigne C. Wright [see BM Satires 15478]; Meeting of Operatives Peter Stubbs in the Chair [Presumably not Peter Stubs of Warrington who died in 1806, see T. S. Ashton, An Eighteenth-century industrialist . . ., 1939]; The New Complete Cook; Drury Lane overflowing Houses Mr Elliston has adapted; Patent Pumps; Distressing Fire in L; Sale of Effects Upright Piano [upside down]; Prayer Meeting; Covent Garden unrivalled PUNCH Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare; St James's Gambling Expositor By Decayd Artists; Stop & Read; Wanted in a Serious Family A Good Gig Secondhand; Observe[r]; Quadrille—Mr Wilson [see BM Satires 12952] begs to info[rm] Inhabitants Saffron Hill Field Lane Vicinity Hatton Garden Amateurs of Polite Dancing Class Monday Friday. In large letters on the wall: Try Hunt and Ask for War [presumably propaganda of 1823, see BM Satires 14513].
Next the girls' school is an ancient timber-framed building with casement windows: The Angel And Punch-Bowl. T. Moore [seemingly an allusion to the contrast between Moore's anacreontic verses and his Loves of the Angels, 1823]. A flag hangs from an upper window inscribed United Brothers Sons of Harmony, decorated with an eye and masonic signs. In front of this two men fight, stripped to the waist, while a man stands beside them holding up a banner inscribed No Pugilism. A hoarding encloses an unfinished (?) theatre on which is a part of a carved frieze. Behind it is a church steeple surrounded by scaffolding; the hoarding is placarded: Contract for Mortar & Stones &c Apply to J. Thompsonville Architect. On the right are two small ruinous timber-framed and ancient houses, each with a shop-window on the ground floor. On the left is the shop of Rickets the barber (see above): Perfumery Co . . . &c. Nature Improved by Rickets. Wigs hang in the window. The first-floor casement has a placard on the window: Eligant Rooms. The very dilapidated attic casement is partly hidden by a board: The Office Of The Peruvian Mining Company. Next door is The Star-Eating House Ham Beef an[d] . . . Moderate. The first-floor casement is placarded Ladies School and Mangleing Took In. Above, a cat stands on the window-ledge trying to reach a carved head framed in wings which supports the gable. 1825
- Production date
Height: 337 millimetres
Width: 582 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
A satirical comment on the topics of the day. Leading themes are education and 'the March of Mind', the puritanism and Sabbatarianism of Evangelicals and Nonconformists; humanitarianism and professional philanthropy, including the activities of the Abolitionists, of Martin and of Mrs. Fry (probably attacked for the Equitable Loan Society). Egan's Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry, 1828, was evoked by the many attacks on Life in London as immoral and pernicious. [Egan quotes W. T. Moncrieff on his play, Tom and Jerry: '"to those venerable noodles who complain that I and my prototype, Pierce, have made this the age of Flesh, I answer—My age is better than the 'Age of Cant'".' Op. cit., p. 21.] Attempts to put an end to Bartholomew Fair had long been recurrent. Hone wrote: 'Bartholomew Fair must and will be put down ... an annual congregation of ignorance and depravity.' Every Day Book, 1825, i. 630. Tracts were produced and distributed wholesale, see W. Jones, The Jubilee Memorial of the Religious Tract Society, 1850, pp. 150, 214 ff.; M. J. Quinlan, Victorian Prelude, N.Y., 1941, ch. v. While the Mendicity Society is attacked, so is the professional beggar. While the Tory thesis of the perfection of the Constitution is derided, so is Hunt's demagogy. Advertisements have a prominent place in this apotheosis of 'Cant', where the promotion of bubble companies, see No. 14669, is also attacked. 'Thompsonville' is presumably Wyatville, see No. 15147. See No. 14773. Cf. No. 15406.
Also a proof, with inscriptions but without title, signature, and imprint.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number