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James Gillray : The Suppressed Plates

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    1782-91 (first published)
    ca. 1850 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gillray, James, born 1757 - died 1815 (artist)
    Humphrey, Hannah (publisher)
    Bohn, Henry George, born 1796 - died 1884 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Print on wove paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift from the Ministry of Justice

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Two plates from an album containing 45 numbered prints on wove paper, the majority printed two per page, recto only. Numbered 7 and 8 respectively, number 7 depicts a man peeping into a high bathroom window where a naked woman coquettishly washes, aware of the man's prescence. She is accompanied by a maid who exclaims 'Good look! My Lady, the Capt will see all for nothing'. Lettered with title, captions, and the original publisher's name, date, and address.

The second print on the same page is entitled 'The Balance of Power or The Posterity of the Immortal Chatham turned Posture Master' and depicts Catherine II (1729-1796), Empress of Russia; the Prime Minister William Pitt (later to become Lord Chatham); and Sultan Selim III of the Ottoman Empire. Lord Chatham tight-rope walks between the steadfast Empress and the bribe-offering Sultan, holding a pole to balance with, which pokes up the dress of the Empress on the right. Each figure has a speech bubble stating their political intentions. Beneath the three is a small figure representing Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the dramatist and parliamentary orator. Lettered with captions,title, and original publisher's name and address.

Place of Origin

Britain (printed)


1782-91 (first published)
ca. 1850 (printed)


Gillray, James, born 1757 - died 1815 (artist)
Humphrey, Hannah (publisher)
Bohn, Henry George, born 1796 - died 1884 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Print on wove paper

Marks and inscriptions

Publ. March 14, 1782, by H. Brown, Oxford Market
Lettered underneath plate 7

Publ. April 21st, 1791, by H. Humphrey, No. 18 Old Bond Street
Lettered underneath plate 8


Height: 63.5 cm, Width: 48.3 cm Sheet

Descriptive line

Two plates from an album of 40 'suppressed' caricatures featuring sexual, scatalogical and politically outrageous subject matter by James Gillray (1756-1815). Issued mid-19th century.


Wove paper



Subjects depicted

Ministers; Voyeurism; Bathing; Leaders; Balance; Tightrope; Pools; Power; Poles; Naked; Washing


Prints; Satire; Caricatures & Cartoons


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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