Collection online

Temperance enjoying a frugal meal

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Temperance enjoying a frugal meal
  • Description

    A companion print to BMSat 8112. The King sits in an armchair in profile to the left, bending forward to eat a boiled egg, holding the egg-cup in his left hand. Opposite him, and partly concealed by the left margin, sits the Queen, avidly stuffing salad into her mouth. On the small round table are a bowl of salad and two jugs or oil and vinegar. Everything in the room denotes miserliness: the King has tucked the end of the table-cloth into his collar to protect his dress; his breeches are patched; his chair is swathed in protective coverings, his feet rest on a mat which protects the carpet. A richly chased flagon, decorated with the royal arms, which stands on the ground beside him, is inscribed 'Aqua Regis'. The handle of the bell-pull is covered by a bag.
    Behind the King's back, and on the extreme right, is a fire-place; in the grate is a vase containing snowdrops, holly, and mistletoe, to show that although it is winter there is no fire (cf. BMSat 7322). A grotesque figure in relief squats above the oval grate, his hands in a muff. On the chimney-piece stand a small pair of scales such as were then used for weighing guineas; see BMSat 5128, &c, resembling those held by the Queen in BMSat 8081; a candelabra formed of a woman's figure, 'Munificence', holding two empty cornucopias; one candle is intact, the other has burned low and is covered by an extinguisher surmounted by a crown. Above the chimney-piece is a picture: 'The fall of Manna', in which the Bible story is realistically depicted: round cakes (? or coins) descend from Heaven and are caught in sacks by Jews wearing contemporary dress; behind are tents and a mountain. Above the King's head hangs an empty picture frame inscribed 'The Triumph of Benevolence'. Below it hangs an oval miniature of the King in profile to the right, inscribed 'The Man of Ross' (John Kyrle (1637-1724), noted for frugality and charity, see 'D.N.B.'), and above it is the lower arc of another empty frame inscribed 'Epicurus'. In the foreground (right) behind the King is an iron-bound and padlocked chest on and beside which are three books: 'Life of Old Elwes' (the miser, a popular work by Topham), 'Dr Cheyne on the benefits of a Spare Diet', and 'Essay on the dearness of Provisions' (cf. BMSat 6993). Behind the Queen is the heavily bolted door of a strong-room; on it hangs a placard: 'Table of Interest, 5 pr Cent. 5 Million . . . 250,000' (&c, the total interest forming a colossal but scarcely legible amount). Above the door is the lower part of an empty frame: 'Parting of the Loaves & Fishes.' 28 July 1792
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1792
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 364 millimetres
    • Width: 292 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with artist's name, title, text within image and publication line: "Js. Gy. design et fecit / Pubd. July 28th. 1792. by H. Humphrey, Old Bond Street".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    The supposed miserliness of the King and Queen was a favourite subject of caricature, see BMSat 7836, &c. The frugality of the King's meals was well known.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 149-50 (small copy); Wright and Evans, No. 86. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Reproduced, Fuchs, after p. 248.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8117 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 28 July 1792  Hand-coloured etching and stipple

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 28 July 1792 Hand-coloured etching and stipple

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA83363

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help