- Museum number
- Object: The good shepherd or Cambria's delight.
The interior of a church, probably the Cathedral of St. Asaph, showing one ruinous wall, with an inverted Gothic window. Shipley, Dean of St. Asaph, stands (left) on a large book inscribed 'Law of Libel Vol. I.', holding a firebrand inscribed 'Dialogue between . . . against a rough map' (left) of North Wales indicated by cracks on the plaster wall, the places marked being 'St Asaph' and 'Chester'. Above the dean are the winged heads of two cherubs. On the window is a large medallion with a profile head drawn so that it appears to be that of a devil with horns, while if turned upside down it is the head of Shipley wearing the hat of a dean (cf. BMSat 7617, &c.). Round it is inscribed, 'Ecclesia perversa tenet faciem diaboli'. On the wall to the right of the window are two profile bust-portraits facing each other, inscribed 'Doctor Sacheverell' (left) and 'Cæsar Borgia' (right). Between and above them is a bishop's mitre. Beneath them is a shelf of books: 'Law of Libels II' and 'Law of Libels III', standing upright; leaning against them are two volumes of Sermons. Beneath is a torn paper inscribed, 'The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oaths present That . . . Seditious'. In the centre, beneath the window, are the two halves of a pillory, irregularly across one another, showing the holes for head and hands. 13 December 1784
- Production date
Height: 165 millimetres
Width: 193 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
William (afterwards Sir William) Jones (hence the artist's name) published in 1782 a political tract of radical tone, 'The Principles of Government, in a Dialogue between a Gentleman and a Farmer'. Shipley brought it to the notice of a County Committee for Flint, who gave it a vote of approbation, and he also ordered it to be translated into Welsh, but abandoned the project on hearing that its contents might be misinterpreted. He was violently attacked at a county meeting, and therefore had a few copies of the pamphlet printed with a preface in his own defence. The Treasury declined to prosecute, but Shipley was indicted for libel at Wrexham Sessions in April 1783. After a protracted prosecution, in which the arguments in the King's Bench (15 Nov. 1784, &c.) turned on the function of the jury in a libel case, the judgement was arrested (22 Nov. 1784) and proceedings set aside. Howell's 'State Trials', xxi. 847-1046. The legal question raised in the trial was decided by Fox's Libel Act of 1792. See BMSat 6670. The medallion is copied from the Pope-Devil medals of the sixteenth century; see F. P. Barnard, 'Satirical and Controversial Medals of the Reformation', 1927, no. 42, &c.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 June-Sep, BM, Room 90, Medals of Dishonour
2012-13 Sept-Jan St Petersburg, Hermitage Museum, Medals of Dishonour
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number