Sunday, April 10, 2011

William Hone Part VI

Coriolanus Addressing the Plebeians, by Mathew Crowther

This Cruikshank satire sums up the confrontation between the establishment and the radical press which took place during December 1819 and January 1820.

It's supposedly a loyalist satire but Cruikshank's depiction of George IV as a muscular hero strains reality to such a degree that the print's loyalism is subverted and the viewer is once again invited to laugh at the hapless monarch. The plebians are the radicals and are identified by the British Museum catalogue as follows; On the far left stand Preston, Watson and Thistlewood under the banner 'Blood and Plunder'. To their right are Carlile, Cobbett -- who is clutching Tom Paine's bones, and Wooler -- who is shown as a personification of his publication The Black Dwarf. Next come the more respectable reformists; the aged Major Cartwright, John Cam Hobhouse, Sir Francis Burdett and Alderman Waithman. Finally Hone, the true hero of the piece, stands on the far right carrying a bludgeon labelled 'parody' and another bearing the names of the Political House and Man in the Moon. Behind him lurks Cruikshank himself carrying a bag of caricatures.

As far as I know this is one of the few single sheet prints that offers a comprehensive set of images of the leading reformists and radicals.

[*It was funny that Mathew sent me this staggering Cruikshank print since I had just come across another loyalist tract which depicted Thomas Jonathan Wooler personified as the Black Dwarf (see HERE). The Black Dwarf took its name from Scott’s fictional Black Dwarf (1816) and was published between 29 Jan 1817 and 1824 and lasted at least 12 volumes. The illustration is by Cruikshank. The portrait of Hone (left) and Cruikshank is from Facetiae and Miscellanies, 1827, HERE. -- John Adcock]

Update: Two further titles are A Political Lecture on Heads by The Black Dwarf (T. J. Wooler, printed for J. Johnstone in 1820) with a woodcut frontispiece, and, A Political Lecture on Heads, alias Blockheads! by Don Juan Asmodeus published by John Fairburn in 1820.

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