Princely predilections or ancient music and modern discord..
London, M. Jones April 1st. 1812, The Scourge
Original hand colouring
212 x 494 mm
Traces of old folds as issued.
The Regent, tipsy and much caricatured, stands among old and new friends; other groups fill a large room with a musicians’ gallery (right), where Catalani, a woman with a cat’s head, is in front, attempting to sing from a large volume: ‘Ancient Music Part first’. The figures below, stretching across the design, pay no attention to the gallery, except for words issuing from inconspicuous heads in the background: "Hiss sss . . . Hisssss . . off off Hiss Hissss—No Catalani . . Hiss ss . . Off No Catalani." She says: "Hiss not de Talent & de innoshensh!" The musicians have stopped playing and register dismay. The Prince’s dress is disordered, his stockings ungartered, his Garter inscribed ‘Honi soit’ hanging loose. He is supported by a very small woman (? the Duchess of York, cf. No. 7927), and McMahon puts a bottle of ‘Curacoa’ to his lips. The latter’s face is hidden by the Prince’s arm; from his head sprout antlers, and his identity is shown by a large ‘Privy Purse’ hanging from his pocket, with a paper inscribed ‘Widows Friend’ [see No. 11874]. On his left stands Lady Hertford, regal and composed, holding the ‘Leading Strings’ which are round his waist. On the other side stands a sharp-featured lady wearing a miniature inscribed ‘L. Howe’; she asks: "Well: since you have got rid of your Old Friends Howe do you like your New Ones? [cf. No. 12081]." The Prince: "Not at all. D—N them! Not at all!!!!" Lady Hertford says: "Friends indeed! you will always meet with a warm friend in Hertford." She wears a crown-like marquis’s coronet with an aigrette; a heart hangs on her neck from a jewelled chain. The ends of the leading-strings she holds are held by a debauched-looking cupid (cf. No. 11904) at her feet who bestrides his arrow, wearing breeches and top-boots. Over her shoulder looks Lord Hertford, a scowling man wearing horns. At her side (right) stands Erskine wearing a tam-o’-shanter, but holding an opera-hat; he points to her, saying: "Behold the gracious Quean of Love." He wears (though he was not K.T. till 1815) a star and knee-breeches with the addition of a very short kilt, plaid stockings, and a sporran inscribed ‘I I I I meme’ [indicating his egotism, see No. 9246, &c.]. Behind and between Lady Howe and McMahon stands the Duke of Cumberland in hussar uniform; he looks melancholy and holds a paper inscribed ‘Am I not a Man and a Br[other].’ Over the Prince’s left shoulder looks Mrs. Fitz-herbert, her face in shadow (cf. No. 11856). These figures form the centre group. On the left stands Perceval, much burlesqued, wearing his official gown, and watching the Regent with pained surprise; at his feet is a book inscribed ‘The Book’. Behind him and on the extreme left a plainly dressed parson in back view talks to an elderly doctor who sucks his cane. From the former’s pocket project ‘Bidlake’s Poems’; he holds a paper: ‘Sermon on Drunkeness Sunday next’; the latter says: ‘That comes Home to him,’ showing that he is Everard Home, see No. 11763. (John Bidlake was a Chaplain to the Regent and the Duke of Clarence, and published poetical and religious works.) Behind and between Perceval and Lady Howe, Death, a crowned skeleton wearing clothes, marches off arm-in-arm with Lord Liverpool in a manner perhaps satirizing the latter’s ‘march to Paris’, see No. 9726; from his spear hangs a streamer inscribed ‘Walchren’. Near them is Lord Melville in Highland dress, wearing a tam-o’-shanter. Princess Charlotte stands on the right, wiping her eyes as if weeping with childish unrestraint. She holds a paper: ‘C—lt—m [sic] House Sunday—1812 Apology to Lord Lauderdale. My Lord I ask pardon.’ She, too, is in ‘Leading Strings’, and these are held by a burlesqued bishop, his mitre perched on an absurd wig. He stands with his back to her and is evidently her preceptor, John Fisher of Salisbury. The Princess’s tears attract the attention of Wellesley who is in oriental dress with a star inscribed ‘Eastern Star’. He holds up a forefinger, his arm round the neck of a woman with a paper inscribed ‘Lady Raffels Rout’. (His mistress was Moll Raffles (see No. 12081, cf. No. 13461; according to the ‘Scourge’, iii. 267-70, Polly Raffle).) She laughs at the Princess. A fat John Bull, who has just entered (right), looks at the Princess in dismayed surprise, shedding sympathetic tears. Just behind him is Sheridan in very tattered Harlequin’s dress (cf. No. 9916); he furtively picks John’s pocket, extracting a large purse, ‘Bulls Purse’; he holds a comic mask. The Duke of York, in uniform, followed by a lady (? Mrs. Carey) enters behind Sheridan. On a settee by the door is a stout man wearing a star (? the Duke of Kent) staring at the Princess with pained surprise. Below the musicians’ gallery hangs a long picture; in the centre is the Regent, Bacchus-like, astride a cask of ‘Curacoa’. He throws an arm over the neck of an ass, while a crowned woman, her breasts exposed, proffers a goblet. He extends his left toe to Erskine who grovels at his feet. The profile of Queen Charlotte peers from behind the ass, looking towards Death, a crowned skeleton who drags forward Lord Chatham, who tramples on an anchor (see No. 11533). Behind the crowned woman is Perceval (left) pointing her out to Lord Eldon, behind whom is Wellesley, a turbaned figure registering surprise. Flat on the ground lies Sheridan, as Harlequin, drinking from a bottle. On the extreme right a naked and antlered figure (? Hertford) plays fife and tabor.