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The Exeter cat and Plymouth mouse / Political Sketches

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1857,1222.43

  • Title (object)

    • The Exeter cat and Plymouth mouse

    Title (series)

    • Political Sketches
  • Description

    No. 294. A large cat dressed in ecclesiastical robes and bands, with a bishop's hat falling off its head (Bishop of Exeter) watching a man (Lord John Russell), peeping out from a small box, lettered 'The freedom of the town of Plymouth'. 1 January 1834
    Lithograph

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1834
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 250 millimetres
    • Width: 381 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Series title and number at top right; initialled by artist; lettered within image on box, and below with title and publication details: 'A. Ducôte's Lithogy. 70 St. Martins Lane / Published by Thos. Mc.Lean 26 Haymarket Jan. 1st. 1834'.
  • Curator's comments

    Text from 'An Illustrative Key to the Political Sketches of H.B.', London 1841:

    The following narrative will explain this sketch. On the 17th December, 1833, a Common Hall was held at Plymouth, for the purpose of complimenting Lord John Russell, Lord Ebrington, and Mr. Bulteel with the freedom of the borough; and as usual, on such occasions, the ceremony was followed by a dinner, and the dinner by sundry speeches. The following extract, from the speech of Lord John Russell, furnished the idea of the present sketch:- "The imputation (of endeavouring to excite the public mind against the Church) cast upon me by the Right Reverend Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter) has made me think that his Lordship was not wholly intent on his religious duty when he made it, but that he had some political object in view at the same time; and I cannot help recollecting that the Right Reverend Prelate was chiefly remarkable, previous to his filling his present dignified situation, for his very able, acute, and sarcastic, but unfair pamphlet against Mr. Canning; and it does seem to me that a tinge of the pamphleteer may be discovered in the effusion to which I have referred. An ancient Roman poet has said, 'drive nature out, if you can, but it will still return and shew itself'; but I can furnish you with a more homely illustration, namely, that of the cat turned fine lady. Now, it is stated, that she performed her part to admiration, until she saw a mouse, but then she could conceal her propensities no longer; and I am half led to suspect that the Right Reverend Lord, by nature a pamphleteer, would have acted with the utmost propriety as a prelate; but, this being in the midst of an election, the pamphleteering propensity came back upon him, and, considering me as the mouse, he pounced upon me."
    To avoid the ruthless claws of the Exeter Cat, the Mouse has crept into the box in which his freedom of the Borough of Plymouth has been presented to him. The sketch might not improperly have been intitled, "Jack in the box."

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display (British XIXc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1857

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1857,1222.43

No. 294. A large cat dressed in ecclesiastical robes and bands, with a bishop's hat falling off its head (Bishop of Exeter) watching a man (Lord John Russell), peeping out from a small box, lettered 'The freedom of the town of Plymouth'.  1 January 1834  Lithograph

Recto

No. 294. A large cat dressed in ecclesiastical robes and bands, with a bishop's hat falling off its head (Bishop of Exeter) watching a man (Lord John Russell), peeping out from a small box, lettered 'The freedom of the town of Plymouth'. 1 January 1834 Lithograph

Image description

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