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- Object: Whiggism, or Master Billy learning his Task
Thurlow, seated (left), a birch-rod in his right hand, in the other an open book inscribed 'A new guide to India', looks towards Pitt, who stands before him dressed as a young girl though wearing a bag-wig. Pitt stands in profile to the left; to his waist is tied a key marked 'T'. (for Treasury) which is decorated with bells and resembles a child's coral (cf. BMSat 7325). Thurlow was again appointed Chancellor (23 Dec. 1783) on the dismissal of the Coalition; he wears an enormous Chancellor's wig.
Against the wall which forms the background are objects to indicate the nature of the lessons taught in Thurlow's schoolroom. A bookcase is inscribed 'Newbery's Works', indicating the extreme youth of Pitt, Newbery being the publisher of books for children. It is surmounted by a bust of Fox, grinning; he is bearded and has satyr's ears; this is inscribed 'A true Whig'. Beside it (right) hangs a circular bust portrait of George III as a Roman emperor. He wears a wreath of thistles. An arm, inscribed 'Secret Influence', extends from a tartan plaid on the extreme left of the design, the hand holding a thistle to the nose of the king, indicating the supposed influence of Bute or of other Scots. The frame of the portrait is decorated with thistles. Over it is inscribed 'A great Whig'. On the other side of the bust of Fox is a wall-map in which the face of Shelburne forms the British Isles. His hair is inscribed 'Scotland', below this and across his forehead is an 'Ecliptic line'; below are 'England', 'Channel', 'German Ocean' (left), and 'Wales, Dublin' (right). A fragment has been torn off, containing 'Am[erica]' and part of the 'West In[dies]'. The map is inscribed 'British Geography made easy to youth by Wycombe 1783' (cf. BMSat 6374), and above it is written 'A false Whig'. 19 January 1784
- Production date
Height: 240 millimetres
Width: 217 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
Shelburne was Baron Wycombe in the English peerage until 1784, when he was created Earl Wycombe and Marquis of Lansdowne. One of many indications of Shelburne's unpopularity, here attacked for the peace of 1783, see BMSat 6171, &c; it illustrates the danger to Pitt of including him in his Ministry, cf. Orde's letter to Shelburne, Fitzmaurice, 'Shelburne', 1912, ii. 284. For Thurlow's part in overtures from the King to Pitt in 1783 cf. BMSat 7502.
- Not on display
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