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The British butcher, supplying John Bull with a substitute for bread, vide message to Lord Mayor

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The British butcher, supplying John Bull with a substitute for bread, vide message to Lord Mayor
  • Description

    Pitt (right), as a butcher, stands arrogantly behind his block, holding up a leg of mutton to a hungry, lean, and dismayed John Bull, who stands with bent knees (left), his right hand groping in his breeches pocket. Pitt says: "A Crown, - take it, or leave't". His cleaver lies on his blood-stained block, on the front of which are two placards side by side:

    'Prices of Provision. 1795 Journeymans Wages - 1795
    Mutton 10 1/2d £b. Carpenters 12sh pr Week
    Lamb 11 D° Shoemakers 10sh D°
    Veal 11 1/2 D° Bakers 9sh D°
    Beef 12 D° Gardeners 8sh D°
    Small Beer - 2d pr Quart Smiths 8sh D°
    Bread 12d Husbandmen 7sh D°
    pr Quarter Loaf
    God save the King'.

    Behind Pitt is the pent-house roof of the shop or stall from the front of which hang joints of meat and pieces of offal. The lower story of a house forms a background (left). John Bull wears the dress and wrinkled gaiters of a yokel. Beneath the title:

    'Billy the Butcher's advice to John Bull.
    Since Bread is so dear, (and you say you must Eat,)
    For to save the Expence, you must live upon Meat;
    And as Twelve Pence the Quartern you can't pay for Bread
    Get a Crown's worth of Meat, - it will serve in its stead.' 6 July 1795
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1795
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 382 millimetres
    • Width: 244 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, artist's name, text within image, text below image and publication line: "Js. Gy. desn. et fect. / Pubd. July 6th 1795. by H. Humphrey No 37. New Bond Street".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
    The high price of food, especially of wheat owing to the bad harvest of 1794, caused great distress and many riots in 1795. Many proposals were made for substitutes for wheat, &c. See the Minutes of Evidence to the Committee of Council, 31 Jan. to 6 Aug. 1795, 'Ann. Reg.', 1795, pp. 93*-104*; Burke's 'Thoughts and Details on Scarcity', a memorandum to Pitt, Nov. 1795, printed in 1800 in relation to the dearth of that year (see BMSat 9545); and BMSats 8648, 8661, 8671, 8681, 8707, 8801. Cf. BMSat 8664, &c.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 191. Wright and Evans, No. 130. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8665 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). 6 July 1795  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 6 July 1795 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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