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James Gillray : The Suppressed Plates

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    1793-6 (first published)
    ca. 1850 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engravings 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 29 and 30 respectively, number 29 depicts a guillotine in action in a packed public square. Deceased bodies, including a bishop, a judge, and two monks, hang from lamp-brackets projecting out from a wall on the right. On top of one of the lanterns sits a man, a sans-culottes, playing a fiddle and grinning. He rests on foot on the head of the dead bishop and has two bloody daggers tucked into the belt of his waistcoat. The figure in the guillotine is Louis XVI, and the platform is surrounded by a sea of bonnets-rouges. Other sans-culottes pepper the platform and in the background, the large dome of a church (l'Assomption?) billows with smoke. Lettered with titles.

The second print on the same page is entitled 'Fashionable Jockeyship' and depicts a scene in the bedroom of Frances Villiers, the Countess of Jersey (Lady Jersey). She is depicted as a wizened, elderly figure in a four-poster bed, coyly beckoning towards Lord Jersey, who stands at the end of the bed, carrying the Prince of Wales on his back. The Prince is depicted as a rotund figure, wearing his Light Horse uniform, low helmet, gloves, garter ribbon, and spurs. He holds the Lord's queue as if it were a rein and exclaims 'Buck! Buck! How many horns do I hold up?'. The Lord leers back at the Prince saying ' E'en as many as you please!'. On the wall is an oval painting in an ornate frame, depicting Cupid playing the pipes to a sow dancing on her hind legs, revealing prominent teats. The pelmet of the bed is fringed with the motif of the earl's coronets topped with two horns. Lettered with title, artist's initials, Latin inscription, and the original publisher's name and address.

Place of Origin

Britain (printed)


1793-6 (first published)
ca. 1850 (printed)


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

Materials and Techniques

Engravings on wove paper

Marks and inscriptions

Pubd. June 1st 1796 by H Humphrey, New Bond Street
Lettered underneath plate 30


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

Uniforms; Death; Lords; Pigs; Guillotines; Beds; Revolution; Lanterns; Helmets; Flags


Prints; Satire; Caricatures & Cartoons


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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