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'The Delegates in Counsel or Beggars on Horseback'

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Prints, drawings and watercolours, Caricatures
ExhibitionsBroadsides! Caricature and the Navy 1775–1815
User collections Caricatures by franzgmail
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAF3899
Description Print of caricature "The Delegates in Counsel or Beggars on Horseback". French Revolutionary principles spread even to the Royal Navy. Published at the critical moment of the naval mutiny at Sheerness, led by Richard Parker, this print represents the events of 20 May, when Admiral Buckner, the Admiralty’s negotiator, went on board the mutineers’ ship ‘Sandwich’ to be presented with their demands. He stands to the left, before a motley group of grotesquely brutal figures (who resemble contemporary caricatures of French Revolutionary sans-culottes) seated around a table, in a composition that might almost be a travesty of the Last Supper. Certainly, the scene casts the mutiny as an inversion of all natural and social order, with Buckner standing before the seated mutineers, men of irredeemably inferior status (hence the title reference to ‘beggars on horseback’). Britannia, in the print on the rear wall, is overturned. Yet the mutineers are also shown as the simple, unthinking stooges of the Whig Opposition: below the table are concealed Horne Tooke, Stanhope, Grey, Fox and Sheridan, who admit ‘Aye, Aye, we are at the bottom of it’, to imply that the mutiny was the product not so much of genuine lower-deck grievances but of republican and French Revolutionary sympathizers, encouraged by these leading politicians, who were widely derided by government supporters as Francophile ‘democrats’.
Date made Published 9 June 1797

Artist/Maker Fores, S. W.
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials hand-coloured etching
Measurements Mount: 406 mm x 560 mm;Primary support: 277 mm x 397 mm
  • 'The Delegates in Counsel or Beggars on Horseback' (PAF3899)
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