A block for the wigs, or, The new state whirligig

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James Gillray
A block for the wigs, or, The new state whirligig
etching, hand colored
image: 227 x 332 mm; sheet: 247 x 344 mm
Peel 2454
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

Printmaker from George.
Library's copy trimmed within plate mark.


The new ministry is depicted on a large carousel, erected in front of the "Crown and Royal Bob" Inn. The structure is supported by a center pole held in place by pegs labelled "Treasury," "Navy" and "Army" terminating at the top with the head of the King in the form of a wig block. Fox, with a fox's head and tail, leads the procession, holding a bag of money. Behind him, Lord North on a horse with its legs cut short, loses his wig; Burke in Jesuit's habit and on a similarly lame horse, has partially turned into a skeleton due to his economical reform; Admiral Keppel behind him is desperate to remain seated on his donkey. Lastly a Scotsman labelled "President" signifies Scottish influence over the Crown. Watching from a seat before the Inn, a complacent John Bull mouths slogans of liberty, unaware that his house is being plundered behind him.

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