- Museum number
- Object: The Contrast 1792. British Liberty. French liberty. Which is best?
Two medallions placed side by side illustrate 'British Liberty' and 'French Liberty', these titles being inscribed on the borders of the medallions.  Britannia seated in profile to the right under an oak with her shield and the staff and cap of Liberty; in her right hand is 'Magna Charta', in her left she holds out the scales of Justice. The British lion crouches at her feet. Behind (right) is the sea with a ship in full sail.  A ragged Fury runs forward in profile to the left, trampling on a decapitated body; in her right hand is a trident on which is a bleeding head flanked by two hearts. In her left hand is a long dagger. Writhing serpents form her hair and her girdle. Behind (right) a body hangs from a lamp-bracket.
Beneath each medallion is an inscription in large letters: 'Religion. Morality. Loyalty Obedience to the Laws Independance Personal Security Justice Inheritance Protection Property. Industry. National Prosperity Happiness.
Atheism Periury Rebellion. Treason. Anarchy Murder Equality. Madness. Cruelty. Injustice Treachery Ingratitude Idleness Famine National & Private Ruin. Misery
WHICH IS BEST?' December 1792
Etching with hand-colouring
- Production date
Height: 271 millimetres
Width: 371 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
Endorsed by Miss Banks: 'Designed by Lord George Murray. Sent by Him to The Crown & Anchor from whence they have been distributed. & Likewise sold by Mrs Humphrey in Bond Street.' The Crown and Anchor Tavern was the head-quarters of the Association for protecting Liberty and Property against republicans and levellers, commonly known as the Crown and Anchor Society, see BMSat 8138, &c. For the price cf. BMSats 8141, 8150.
Another impression (coloured): 'Price Plain 6d Coloured 1sh.'
Another impression with the addition of commas and hyphens to the inscription.
A copy was issued, 1 Jan. 1793, see Vol. vii. Cf. Challamel, ii. 299; Blum, No. 607.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', i. 317-18.
See David Bindman, 'Britain and the French Revolution', BM 1989, cat.71. The design was supplied by Lord George Murray at the Crown & Anchor.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989 May-Sep, BM, Shadow of the Guillotine: Britain/French Revolution
1990 Jan-Mar, Manchester, Whitworth AG, Britain/French Revolution
1990 June-Sep, Vizille, Mus/Rev Francaise, Britain/French Revolution
2005 July-Nov, London, NMM, Nelson and Napoleon
2009 June-Sep, BM, Room 90, Medals of Dishonour
2012-13 Sept-Jan St Petersburg, Hermitage, Medals of Dishonour
2015 Mar-Sep, London, The British Library, 'Magna Carta'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number