- Museum number
- Object: Royal Beneficence
George III accompanied by members of the Royal family freeing a poor man imprisoned in a debtors' prison with a gift of coins. 1793
- Production date
Height: 492 millimetres
Width: 603 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is an unusual impression in being coloured. On the analogy of other prints in the same collection, it is assumed that the colouring was added in Vienna.
This print was included as cat.151 in the Gillray exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 2001, where it was paired with Gillray's parody.
Mr Nigel Croucher (2008) has supplied a reference from 'Somerset & Dorset Notes & Queries' vol.XVII signed by 'R.G.B' that throws light on the subject:
'Being interested in the Pitfield family I consulted the prison register of that date and the result appears below. It will be noted that whereas the engraving calls the prisoner William, his real name was John, and although the painter supplies Pitfield with a wife, grown up son, two daughters and a little child, the record styles him a bachelor, at any rate when he was committed to prison in 1785.
Extract from Prison Records, H.M. Prison, Dorchester.—
"Memorandum Monday, Sept, 10, 1792.
"THEIR MAJESTIES The Prince of Wales, The Duke and Dutchess of York, The Princesses Royal, Augusta, Elisabeth, Mary, Sophia and Amelia visited the Prison.
"Their Majesties were most graciously pleased to order John Pitfield committed the 14th Sep., 1785, to be discharged and he was discharged. See folio I, No. 50 the Honble Lionel Darner Sheriff Folio I, No. 25."
The Reference gave the following details.
"John Pitfield, of Whitchurch Canonicorum aged 59 by trade a mason, Batchelor, Committed by writ of King's Bench; brought to prison Sep. 14, 1785.
Plaintiffs Ralph Bartlett John Hansford and Robert Barrett. N.B. nominal pltiffs for Lord Arundel, Plaintiffs Attorney Wade for Brickie.
Date of Warrant: Aug. 30, 1785
Writ of Execution delivered Sep. 14, 1785.
Writ returnable on Monday next after the morrow of All Souls for the sum of £220. Prisoner employed whitewashing the prison, mop making and peg making.
How maintained? By the county until the 9th January, 1792, and from that time by the gaoler. Conduct exemplary. Discharged Sep. 10, 1792, By the Order of his Majesty King George the Third."
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Presented in memory of Richard Godfrey by Alan and Tony Godfrey. The print comes from the Oettingen-Wallerstein collection.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number