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A True Picture of the Famous Skreen describ'd in the Lond.n Journ.l No. 85

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • A True Picture of the Famous Skreen describ'd in the Lond.n Journ.l No. 85
  • Description

    Satire on the cover-up of those in power who were implicated in the South Sea Bubble and other financial scandals. A grand room with two long windows and a pier glass between. Much of the room is obscured by a large screen, but figures can be discerned behind it: on the left three men, one holding a staff of office, is reflected in the glass, one of them is also partly visible to the left of the screen; on the right, a woman is partly seen clenching her fist; shadows of other women fall on the wall to right, below a map of Antwerp. The screen itself is ornamented with eight relevant scenes: the Moenian column against which a criminal is being flogged; the brazen head supposedly made by Roger Bacon; a Roman taking a bribe; Britannia expiring; a criminal being pushed off the Tarpeian rock; the killing of Jan and Cornelis de Wit; a gallows on Tower Hill; the personification of London collapsed with a dagger in her breast.Two columns of verse and a description below taken from the London Journal, No.89 (85 in the title).


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1721
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 164 millimetres
    • Width: 174 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered above the image with the title and '& Multis alys'; in the image with labels and 'Picart Amst.dam sc.'; lettered below the image 'The Advice', with ten lines of verse 'Take Care, nor slight the vulgar Breath ... They're doubly Guilty who ye Guilty Screen' and with twelve lines of explanation 'A famous Screen now to be Sold to the best Bidder ... Tower hill, & upon it a Tripos of ye most curious Structure & Invention', finishing 'cum multis aliis - Enquire at ye usual Place of Sale Lond: Journ.l No. 89'.
        Annotated in pen and ink by Hawkins '11 March 1721 [the final digit corrected from '0'].
  • Curator's comments

    Stephen's suggests that the figures behind the screen are intended for James Craggs, secretary of state, who managed of the legislation which converted the national debt into South Sea stock and arranged for royal friends and mistresses to benefit; John Aislabie, chancellor of the exchequer, who was involved in operating subscription lists and profited by the rise in the stock price; the Duchess of Kendal, the king's mistress, and his half-sister (assumed by many also to be his mistress) Sophia von Kielmansegg, both of whom had been given £15,000 worth of South Sea stock; and Henrietta Howard, mistress of the Prince of Wales, who had settled £11,500 worth of South Sea stock on her. The third man is Robert Knight, cashier of the South Sea Company, who had fled to Brabant after appearing before the House of Commons committee of inquiry on 21 January.
    Picart's name may have been added intentionally to mislead because of the contentious political subject matter.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 1710 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: South Sea Bubble
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Description to follow.  1721  Etching


Description to follow. 1721 Etching

Image description



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