- Museum number
- Object: L'enfant trouvé:- a sample of Roman Charity!-or-the misfortune of not being born with Marks of "the talents".
After the title: ' - "What! a Relation to the Broad-Bottom's? - O Sainte Marie! why there's not the least Appearance of it! - therefore, take it away to the Workhouse, directly! - "' Members of the Grenville family surround a table on which a black footman places a basket containing an attractive baby. The child kicks and crows as the man lifts up the wrapping which had covered her. A blue ribbon with a seal or jewel hangs from the basket, which is labelled 'for the Marchioness Broad Bot[tom]', with a paper: 'Copy of Verses to the Marchioness of Broad . . . ' [the words dwindle to illegibility]. The Marchioness and the Marquis (r.), side by side, lean towards the basket. The former, in back view, is dressed as an abbess, with a large cross on her rightobe where it covers her heavy posterior. An enormous rosary hangs from her waist; she wears many rings, and a gold-trimmed gown under her black robe. Her husband, who has just risen from a chair, peers through his spectacles; he wears military uniform, his left hand rests on an enormous cross worn in place of a sword. On the farther side of the table his two brothers, Thomas Grenville and Lord Grenville, wearing monkish robes with rosaries round their necks, stare with impassive disapproval at the foundling. On the left. and in profile to the right. stand Buckingham's two sons, Lord George Grenville (less stout than his brother, but with an equally projecting posterior, see BMSat 11064) and Lord Temple, his breeches pocket stuffed with guineas. [The identifications are those of Lord Holland.] The child is on a round library table covered with green cloth, and with drawers inscribed 'Lists of Pensions', 'Lists of Sinecures', 'Lists of Places', 'Crown Grants'. Through the open door (l.) two fat liveried servants stare at the scene. Behind them a Jesuit descends a staircase, holding a paper: 'Inquisition.'
The room is an oratory, with an altar (right), much burlesqued in Gillray's manner when designing emblems of 'Popery', cf. BMSat 10404. An open book leans against the open sanctuary which supports a chalice and the Host. Its pages are headed 'Sante Marie', 'Sante Joseph', 'Sante Diable', 'Sante Napoleone'. Within the sanctuary is a demon hugging money-bags. In front of the book is a bell. The book is flanked by wine-bottles: in the neck of one is a calvary, in that of the other a bunch of roses (cf. BMSat 10558, &c). Two fat cherubs with heavy posteriors, holding palm branches, flank the chalice. On each side of the altar is a heavy ornate candle-stick; the candles are held in 'savealls' (cf. BMSat 8107), one gutters violently, the other has burnt down to a smouldering wick. Above the altar is a circular picture, irradiated, but covered by curtains except for an arc of the frame inscribed 'St Napolean' [the narne was so spelt by those who identified him with the Beast of Revelation by means of the number 666, see BMSat 11004]. On the wall is a picture: 'Broad-Bottom-Abbey' [cf. BMSat 10530]; part of the interior of an abbey showing a large Virgin and Child on an altar, a confessional box, a holy water bowl projecting from a pillar with kneeling figures. This is flanked by candelabra with lighted candles, the centre-pieces decorated by a cross. Buckingham and his wife have risen from two ornate and throne-like chairs on which are a coronet and a cross; beneath them lies a long gold crosier.
A child laid at the door of Buckingham's house in Pall Mall gave rise to the print. The basket was labelled 'To the humane care of the Marchioness of Buckingham'; in it were verses beginning:
''In me sweet Lady, here you see
An helpless orphan child . . .'
'Examiner', 15 May 1808.' 19 May 1808
- Production date
Height: 255 millimetres
Width: 357 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
The Grenvilles are pilloried for their support of Catholic Emancipation, see (e.g.) BMSat 10709, and their accumulation of sinecures, cf. BMSats 8061, 10543, 10721, and for a supposedly favourable attitude to Napoleon. Parsimony combined with wealth and magnificence is indicated by the guttering altar candles, as well as by the decision to send the child to the workhouse. The Marchioness was the social centre of the Catholic laity in England. M. Roberts, 'The Whig Party, 1807-12', 1938, p. 73. She had a chaplain at Stowe, Charles O'Conor, D.D. (see 'D.N.B.'), perhaps depicted as the Jesuit. Cf. BMSat 10739.
Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 355-6. Wright and Evans, No. 345. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Broadley, i. 290.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number