The church militant

Image not available
The church militant
etching with mezzotint, hand colored
image: 205 x 194 mm; plate mark: 253 x 210 mm; sheet: 293 x 228 mm
Peel 2284
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

Caption title.
Print issued as an illustration opposite page 21 in: The literary life of the late Thomas Pennant, Esq. By himself. Published by London Benjamin and John White, Fleet-Street, and Robert Faulder, New Bond-Street, 1793.
With four stanzas of verse below image: With spear & scarlet I'm now deck'd ... Who've palm'd my empty pate.; signed: I. Sternhold.
A later state of BMSat 6337, with certain alterations to the plate. The label running from the soldier-parson on his right side (the left of the print) is inscribed "Come Jolly Bacchus God of Wine!"; on the large scroll, in place of "No saucy remorse ...", is a tailor's bill; on the sign, in place of the words St. As - - h, three Cats-Heads, and H - - ford, are marks of cancellation; under the title, in place of the dedication is engraved "See Mr Pennant's literary life. P. 21."


A satire on the taking of orders by ex-army officers at the close of the American War. A man stands full-face, dressed half as a military officer, half as a parson. His hat, his hair, his shirt, his waistcoat, his breeches, are military on his right side (the left side of the print). The darker shading of the dress on his left side indicates a clerical black. His right breeches pocket hangs inside out to show that it is empty. In his right hand he holds a spear, in his left a book. A long label issues from each side of his head; that on the right of the print encloses the words, "Hear me O Lord for I am poor & needy"; that on the left, "Come Jolly Bacchus God of Wine!". By his right side is inscribed "The modern call", and beneath his feet, "The Reverend Captain Penny less & many others half dyed and left unfinish'd 178[--] by." He stands in a landscape between two buildings: on the left is a prison inscribed "Kings Bench", on the extreme right the corner of a plain four-storied house appears; from the highest window hangs out a flag or sign inscribed, "Dying in all its Branches.The worst Reds dyed Black: or any Colour be it ever so bad; Enquire at the Key and Crook, in [the text struck out]". In the distance (right) among trees is a church, inscribed "Dernier resort". On the military side of the soldier-parson is a large paper or scroll inscribed with a tailor's bill. On the other side (right) an open book, "Trusler's Sermons", lies on the ground. Cf. British Museum catalog.