William Heath (Paul Pry)
John Bull in Perplexity or Ascendency versus Union.
London, T McLean c. 1829
Original hand colouring
265 x 455 mm
Trimmed to border.
A rare and complex caricature by Heath
After the title: ‘His progress, they said depended on Ascendancy; and this, they told him, was Ascendancy—and consequently the only thing that could do him good. Westminster Review N° 19.’ John Bull, a stout gentleman, stands between opposed groups who try to convince him. On his right are Brougham (a broom projecting from his pocket), Burdett, and Scarlett. On his left Eldon and a fat bishop (probably Howley) place their hands on his arm; with them are two parsons and a hook-nosed man in riding-dress (?Westmorland), with a paper, Corn-Laws, in his pocket. On the left, behind Burdett, are Wellington (in plumed cocked hat and long military cloak) and Peel in anxious consultation; between them is a hand (its owner not depicted) holding up a rat by the tail. A little ragged Irish boy and an old woman holding a rosary and a pipe shout: Long life, to the pair of ye. Behind them is a mounted hussar (Lord Anglesey) who turns to Wellington and Peel to say: 14 and 6 are 20 6 from 14 leaves 8; he points over his shoulder to the right. There, in the middle distance, is a big covered wagon: Common State Waggon John Bull & Co. Six grey horses, plunging and kicking in confusion, one having fallen, drag it down a slope towards a precipice (left), while fourteen black horses, harnessed to the tail of the wagon, try to drag it to the right, up hill: Constitution Hil’. In the wagon facing the grey horses is the King. A front wheel passes over a bishop. Three wagoners, apparently parsons, lash the black team. On the sky-line a coach inscribed France flying the flags of Portugal and Greece is drawn up hill (left to right) by four galloping horses with two postilions.
In the foreground (right) slightly farther from the picture plane than J. B.’s group, four persons dance together, touching hands: in the centre are the Duke of Cumberland in hussar uniform, with the Devil’s right hand on his right arm. The Devil smokes a fiery cigar inscribed Religion; from his horned head a snakelike pigtail flies upwards ending in the three balls of a pawnbroker’s sign. A tall handsome minister, evidently Edward Irving, the best-known preacher in London and a bitter enemy of Emancipation, dances with his right hand on the Devil’s left, holding up a watch and seals. Cumberland holds the right hand of his little son Prince George, who is in uniform and waves his cap. Close to Irving capers a lank-haired fellow in old-fashioned dress, his hands together, his eyes raised sanctimoniously. In his coat-pocket is a blazing cathedral inscribed York you’re wanted’. Behind this group of five is a dense crowd of country people frantically cheering a parson who screams at them from a rostrum (hidden by the audience), holding out a paper: Black Ascendancy
John Bull in Perplexity or Ascendency versus Union
William Heath (Paul Pry)John Bull in Perplexity or Ascendency versus Union.London, T McLean c. 1829EtchingOriginal hand colouring265 x 455 mmTrimmed to border.
William Heath (Paul Pry)