- Museum number
- Object: The Rape of the Petti-coat
Satire on the intervention of Lord MayorThomas Harley in the riots following his election as MP for the City of London and John Wilkes's election as MP for the county of Middlesex in March 1768. Harley is shown pulling down a boot (for Lord Bute) and petticoat (for Princess Augusta) that have been erected on a gallows outside the Mansion House; he is surrounded by a rowdy crowd and, on the right, a gentleman with an eye-glass looks on quizzically; constables with staves stand behind Harley. Illustration to the Oxford Magazine, vol 1, 1768 facing verses on p.35 headed "The Rape of the Boot and Petticoat".
Etching and engraving
- Production date
- 1768 (circa)
Height: 154 millimetres (image)
Width: 98 millimetres (image)
- Curator's comments
- The context is described in the History of Parliament (http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/harley-hon-thomas-1730-1804, accessed 30 April 2018): Harley was generally praised for exerting himself to restore law and order during the riots, and an address was voted by both Houses asking the King to confer ‘some mark of distinction’ upon him. He was made a Privy Councillor, and in November 1768 he was given a share in the contract to remit money to the troops in North America.
However, his actions also met with criticism: a letter to the Political Register (vol iii, pp.81-83) complained that "to see a supreme magistrate issuing from his mansion-house amidst a crowd of boys, and seizing them with his own hands, is a sight not less ludicrous than improper. The dignity of his office is degraded to that of a petty Constable, and the L[ord Mayor] of London appears upon the level of a common t[hie]f t[ake]r".
The registration number on the verso is not clearly legible.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number