John Bull, in a quandary

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James Gillray
1756-1815
John Bull, in a quandary
etching
image: 233 x 335 mm; plate mark: 247 x 350 mm; sheet: 249 x 350 mm
Peel 2584
Provenance: 
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.
Notes: 

Possibly Gillray. Cf. George.
After the title is etched: "Which way shall I turn me, how shall I decide?
"One of many satires on the Westminster by-election, see BMSat 7339, &c. Hood's achievements at the Battle of the Saints are contrasted with Townshend's success with women, as in BMSat 7346, &c."--Curator's comments, British Museum online catalog.
Sheet trimmed to thread margins of plate mark.

Summary: 

John Bull, a stout, plainly dressed citizen, stands full-face, his hands in his coat-pockets, between Townshend (left) and Hood (right), who face each other in profile. Townshend stands outside the door of Brooks's, he holds out to John Bull an open book: 'Prosecution for Crim Con.' In his right hand he holds strings attached to the wrists of three young women who kneel behind him. From his pocket protrudes a bottle labelled 'Butlers Wine'. Under his foot is -the broken staff of 'Liberty'. Hood, in naval uniform, stands boldly, holding the hilt of his sword and chains attached to the wrists of three French sailors who kneel behind him. Under his foot is a French flag. Behind this group is the sea with battle-ships in action. Cf. British Museum online catalog.

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