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The mitred minuet

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The mitred minuet
  • Description

    Four bishops wearing mitres dance together, each holding the hand of the one opposite him so that four hands cross in the middle. They dance round the 'Quebec Bill' which lies on the floor. Other bishops, not wearing mitres, are seated in a semicircle behind them, watching with approval. On the left are three figures who appear to be directing the dance: Lord Bute in highland dress plays the bagpipes, next him is Lord North pointing to the dancers, and on North's left is a minister wearing a ribbon. Above their heads flies the Devil pointing to North with his right hand, his left forefinger laid against his nose. The scene is a panelled room. 1 May 1774 Etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1774
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 110 millimetres
    • Width: 174 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
    From the 'London Magazine', xliii. 312.
    The explanatory text is a violent attack on the Quebec Act, passed 22 June 1774, from the No-Popery standpoint: the bishops' "crossing of hands was to show their approbation and countenance of the Roman religion".
    The Quebec Act, though not a punitive measure, was classed with the three acts passed against Massachusetts, the Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, the Administration of Justice Act, and with the Quartering Act as the five intolerable Acts, rousing far the most opposition though it was "dictated by an enlightened liberalism ... to secure the loyalty of the French Canadians. To these it granted complete religious liberty and the restitution of their peculiar legal and political institutions". S. E. Morison and H. S. Commager, 'The Growth of the American Republic', New York, 1930, p. 21. See also R. Coupland, 'The Quebec Act', 1928; Cavendish, 'Debates on the Bill for the Government of Quebec', 1889. Chatham on 18 June denounced it in the House of Lords as "a most cruel, oppressive and odious measure, tearing up justice and every good principle by the roots". 'Parl. Hist.', xviii. 1402. See also the King's Speech, ibid., 1407. For the Act see also BMSat 5233, 5236, 5282, 5285, 5286. BMSat 5681 perhaps relates to this Act.
    This plate was used in the 'Hibernian Magazine', iv. 451, Aug. 1774. It was copied by Paul Revere for the 'Royal American Magazine', October 1774, Stauffer, BMSat 2688.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 5228 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British 1774 Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number




Image description



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Object reference number: PPA72337

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