Friday, April 1, 2011

More Political Drama

Mathew Crowther has sent me a number of new prints by Charles Grant and others. Quotes are from Mathew Crowther’s letters, accompanied by fascinating images, which I am always delighted to receive in the mail. Top is the 96th print of the Political Drama series by Grant published by George Drake.

“The image shows the usual villains of Grant's world -- tax collects, Tories, upper class military officers and policemen -- all being forcibly muzzled in order to protect the people from their excesses. Grant even goes so far as to depict a member of the Royal Family, the Duke of Cumberland, chained to the floor and being fitted with a muzzle in order to protect the people from an outbreak “of that grave malady of yours, the Razor-phobia,” a reference to rumours which were circulating in the press at the time about the connection between the Duke's affair with Lady Graves and the suicide of her husband.”

The next, a print “by T.H. Jones entitled A Voice From the Graves, which shows the ghosts of both his aide-de-camp and Lord Graves rising up to confront Cumberland and brandishing razors.” Strangely enough Graves suicide by razor was not the first scandal involving Cumberland and that weapon. Earlier in life the Duke of Cumberland had been attacked in his room with a sword while sleeping. It was assumed that his manservant Sellis had done the deed. Sellis was found in another room with his throat slit by a razor, presumably a suicide. The radical press had other ideas. Sellis was not the perpetrator but the victim of Cumberland’s wicked rage. I wrote about the Duke of Cumberland and some of the literary abuse he put up with in a previous post entitled Who Murdered Eliza Grimwood?

“The Sinners before St. Andrew,” a jab at the Sabbath law appeared in b&w in a previous post entitled C. J. Grant: the Political Drama. The b&w print was published by George Drake. Mathew Crowther says “this print is something of an oddity as the only coloured version of the Political Drama which I have come across before was a lithograph published by Tregear. This print however carries O'Hodgson's publication line and appears to have been produced with a traditional copper plate engraving technique. My guess would be that Grant, who had previously published images for Drake, Tregear and O'Hodgson, probably took commissions from all three to produce alternative versions of prints from the popular PD series.”

Next, very delicately coloured, is “an early print by Theodore Lane entitled “The Radical Ladder” which was produced for G. Humphrey in 1821 and which is a copy of a woodcut which Cruikshank produced to illustrate a loyalist pamphlet attacking Queen Caroline and the Reformists.”

Last “a large broadsheet advertisement for a newspaper called “The Old Soldier,” which, judging by the references to Wellington's entry into politics, dates from around 1830. Advertisements relating to newspapers and journals in this period are incredibly rare because most of them would simply have been stuck up on a wall somewhere and eventually been either thrown away or recycled for some other use.”

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