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Blindmans-buff -or- too many for John Bull

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Blindmans-buff -or- too many for John Bull
  • Description

    John Bull, blindfolded, is being robbed and bullied by the powers of Europe who are urged on by Pitt. He stands in back view, without his coat, leaning forward with outstretched arms, wearing the wrinkled gaiters by which Gillray denotes the countryman (cf. BMSat 8141, &c). The Emperor (left), wearing a crown and a long ermine-lined robe decorated with a Habsburg eagle, leans forward from the left, and furtively picks his pocket. He holds a document inscribed 'Imperial Loan'. Prussia, as a Death's Head hussar, stands full-face near the Emperor and snaps his fingers at John Bull, holding out in triumph a money-bag inscribed '£2000000'. On the right John is assailed by France and Holland: a lean and ragged sansculotte with clenched fists kicks him behind; a fat Dutchman, holding a tobacco-pipe, puffs a blast of smoke in his face. On the extreme left Pitt stands in profile to the right, holding John Bull's coat and putting his hand into its pocket, he says: "Go it, my Honies, go it! Supple him a little! Supple him!" 12 June 1795
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1795
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 250 millimetres
    • Width: 349 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within image and publication line: "Pubd. June 12th. 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 print reflects the attacks on the loan to the Emperor, 28 May, 3 June, 10 June, when the folly of the subsidy to Prussia in 1794 (used for the Partition of Poland, cf. BMSat 8477) was adduced. 'Parl. Hist.' xxxii. 37-45; see also xxxi. 1294, 1344, 1558 ff. For the burden of subsidies cf. BMSat 8821, &c. For the conquest of Holland and the fraternization of the Dutch with the French, see BMSat 8608, &c. One of many satires on the burdens of the war, cf. BMSat 8646.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 189. Wright and Evans, No. 126. Van Stolk, No. 5316. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8658 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    1993 May-Jun, Southampton City AG, Europeans in Caricature
    1993 Jul-Sep, Bolton Museum & AG, Europeans in Caricature
    1993 Oct-Nov, Newton Powys, Oriel 31, Europeans in Caricature
    1994 Feb-Mar, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Europeans in Caricature
    1994 May-Jul, Eastbourne, Towner AG, Europeans in Caricature

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 12 June 1795  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 12 June 1795 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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