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A Hackney Meeting

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1 February 1796 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gillray, James, born 1757 - died 1815 (artist)
    Humphrey, Hannah (publishers)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Hon. Arthur Villiers

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case Z, shelf 17, box III

Physical description

Satirical print depicting a political meeting at the Mermaid Tavern, Hackney. The two MPs for Middlesex are addressing the crowd from a platform, George Byng on the left and William Mainwaring on the right. Byng has a piece of paper reading 'Treatise on the use of Cocoa' in his pocket. Charles James Fox, the Whig statesman, stands behind Byng, holding Byng's hat. On the platform are two notics reading 'Mermaid Hackney / Meeting of the Freeholders for obtaining a Repeal of the odious, detestable, obnoxious, unconstitutional, oppressive...' and 'Address to his Majesty by the ...'.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1 February 1796 (published)


Gillray, James, born 1757 - died 1815 (artist)
Humphrey, Hannah (publishers)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Js. Gy. des. et fect.

Pubd Feby 1st 1796 by H. Humphrey New Bond Street


Height: 14.5 in, Width: 9.75 in

Object history note

The meeting at the Mermaid Tavern was held on 21 November 1795 to oppose the passage of the Treason and Sedition Bills. So many people attended that the meeting had to be moved outside to the gardens of the pub: the outside of the building is visible in the print. The meeting agreed to petition the king against the bills.
(See M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)

This object was part of the John Edmund Gardner collection of topographical prints and drawings of London. After Gardner's death the collection passed to his son Edmund Thomas, but was sold to Edward Coates MP in 1910. The collection was sold again in 1923 after Coates' death, and was split between various institutions and private collectors. The portion connected with Hoxton, Homerton, Hackney and Bethnal Green was bought by the Hon. Arthur Villiers and donated to the Bethnal Green Museum.

Descriptive line

'A Hackney Meeting', etching by James Gillray, London, 1796

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Taken from departmental handlist.


Paper (fiber product)



Subjects depicted

Meetings; Politics; Pubs


London history; Prints; Caricatures & Cartoons; Satire; Politics


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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