Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Bandelures
  • Description

    The Prince of Wales reclines on a sofa, half-sitting, half-lying, and leaning against Mrs. Fitzherbert. He is intent on a circular box or 'bandelure' at the end of a string which he holds round the second finger of his raised right hand, playing with the toy revived in the twentieth century as Yo-yo. Sheridan leans over the back of the sofa, embracing Mrs. Fitzherbert and thrusting his hand inside her decolletage. She puts her left hand on Sheridan's cheek, her right arm is round the Prince. The expressions of all three excellently indicate their preoccupations. On the left a fire blazes in the grate; above it is a decorative panel of a horse-race. On the shelf above is a bust of 'Claudius Rom: Imp:', a dice-box and dice, and the figure of an infant Bacchus, astride a cask and holding up a glass. On the wall behind Sheridan's head is a picture of 'Joseph & Potiphers Wife'. Behind him and on the extreme right is an open door showing a staircase. The Prince is stouter than in earlier prints; he wears his star, but his wrinkled stockings and slippers, like his pose, suggest indolence and domesticity. Mrs. Fitzherbert wears a tiara inscribed 'Ich dien', with three ostrich feathers. Beneath the design is etched:

    '------------"thus sits the Dupe, content!
    "Pleases himself with Toys, thinks Heav'n secure,
    "Depends on Woman's smiles, & thinks the Man
    "His Soul is wrap'd in, can be nought but true;
    "Fond Fool, arouse! shake off thy childish Dream,
    "Behold Love's falshood, Friendships perjur'd troth;
    "Nor sit & sleep, for all around the World,
    "Thy shame is known, while thou alone art blind -
    Blackmore' 28 February 1791
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1791
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 295 millimetres
    • Width: 397 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within image and publication line: "London. Pubd. Febr. 28th. 1791. by S. W. Fores. N. 3 Piccadilly".
        Annotated (verso) with date and catalogue number.
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    Sheridan and his wife were living in Mrs. Fitzherbert's house in Jan. 1789, partly because of frequent executions (by his landlord) in his house in Bruton Street, partly, it was supposed, for political reasons. 'Auckland Corr.' ii. 267; 'Harcourt Papers', iv. 160.
    The bandelure (emblem of idle frivolity, cf. BMSat 8114) was supposed in France to be the pastime of the emigres: it was known as 'émigrette' or 'émigrant', and then as 'jeu de Coblentz'. See a French satire, reproduced, Grand-Carteret, 'Les Mœurs et la Caricature en France', pp. 55, 56. In a French caricature (1801), 'Quel est le plus ridicule?', comparing the dress of 1789, 1796, and 1801, the lady of 1789 affectedly dangles a bandelure. For the game see Walpole, 'Letters', xix. 297 (12 Oct. 1790).
    Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 133-4. Wright and Evans, No. 48. Reproduced, Fuchs, p. 262; B. Gray, 'The English Print', 1937, pl. 5.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 7829 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    2001 Jun-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Gillray and the Art of Caricature'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 28 February 1791  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 28 February 1791 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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