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The learned pig.

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The learned pig.
  • Description

    The 'Learned Pig', with a man's head and wearing a round hat and a coat buttoned across his chest, stands on his hind legs in profile to the left. In his hoofs he holds a paper, which he reads, grinning broadly. Above his head: 'Walk in, walk in, Gentlemen! How to save your Bacon'. Beneath the title: 'will shew the most surprising Feats of Knowledge - He will (amongst many other curious Specimens of his Art) Explain many Passages in the Cavalry & other late Acts of Parliament - The like before never having been even attempted in these our realms!!!'
    On the right of the design is a large scroll headed by an escutcheon on which is a cross (of no heraldic type) surmounted by a baron's coronet and with the motto 'Quicquid delirant Reges plectuntur Achivi:
    Great & Extraordinary News. Lately arrived at Leeds, in Opposition to Messrs Fox & Sheridan's Company of Strollers - Billy Pitts Company of Puppets, under the Patronage of the Recorder &c &c &c. They are much superior to the Rival Company: - whose Talents are merely capable of acting one Part whereas These wonderful Puppets are able & willing to act any Part, - which will be shewn for the Amusement of the Town in a surprising number of excellent Farces, - Between every Act, God save the King, in full Chorus NB: No expence has been spared - The principal Scenes being all made of Broad Cloth - Vivat, Rex.' In the upper right corner of the design is 'N° 1'. c. 1797


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1797 (c.)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 259 millimetres
    • Width: 220 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title and text within image.
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
    Probably from the design or description of an amateur and similar in manner to BMSat 9423, also a Yorkshire print. The precise significance is obscure, but the allusion to the Cavalry Act, &c, seems to indicate a Bill moved by Pitt on 18 Oct. 1796, see BMSat 8836, &c. This was for a force of Provisional Cavalry, owners of horses for riding or carriages being required to provide one trooper and horse for every ten such horses, owners of fewer to provide their horsemen jointly. This was shortly amended by a provision that if a town or county should voluntarily raise three-fourths of the required number, then the Lord Lieutenant might dispense with the Provisional Cavalry and raise Yeomanry or Volunteer Cavalry. Fortescue, 'Hist. of the British Army', iv. 822-3, 891-2. At Leeds a meeting in Nov. 1796 resolved to raise such a force. Their first public appearance was on 4 June 1797 and in the winter they patronized a performance at the Leeds Theatre. Samuel Buck, the Recorder of Leeds, took a prominent part in the raising of the Leeds Volunteers in 1794, and in 1802 he was one of the magistrates urging enrolment in the Volunteer Cavalry. Thoresby Society, xxviii, 'Miscellanea', 1928, pp. 266, 270, 284 ff. For the Learned Pig cf. BMSat 6857, &c.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 9056 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number




Image description



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Object reference number: PPA143090

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