- Museum number
- Object: Britannia between Scylla and Charybdis.
Pitt steers a small boat, 'The Constitution', with a single sail, a Union pennant flying from the mast, through huge waves between a high rock (left) and a whirlpool whose circumference is an inverted crown which merges in the swirling water. He is in profile to the right, gazing fixedly at a castle on a promontory (right) among still waters, which flies a flag inscribed 'Haven of Public Happiness'. Britannia, a buxom young woman, sits in the boat, her hands raised in alarm, her head turned towards the rock, on the summit of which is a large bonnet-rouge with a tricolour cockade on a post within a ramshackle fence. Spray dashes against Scylla; beside the rock and in the foreground (left) three sharks with human heads closely pursue Pitt's boat: Sheridan, Fox, and Priestley (good profile portraits), their eyes fixed menacingly on the boat. They are: 'Sharks'; 'Dogs of Scylla'. Beneath the title: 'or - The Vessel of the Constitution steered clear of the Rock of Democracy [cf. BMSat 8310], and the Whirlpool of Arbitrary-Power.' 8 April 1793
- Production date
Height: 304 millimetres
Width: 356 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
For the enthusiasm for the Constitution see BMSat 8287, &c. For the Opposition Whigs, cf. BMSat 8315. An anticipation of Canning's 'The Pilot that weathered the Storm'.
Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 168-9 (reproduction); Wright and Evans, No. 102. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number