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Lot number: 44192
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Publisher: GILLRAY, J.
Title: The dissolution; or the Alchymist producing an Aetherial Representation. (150).
Published: Henry G. Bohn, London, 1840

Size: 14.4 x 10.2 inches.
36.5 x 26.0 cm.
Colouring: Uncoloured.
Condition:  Etching. In very good condition. Another caricature by Gillray printed on verso : "John Bull & his dog Faithful, "Among the Faithless, Faithful Only Found".
 Condition Rating

Caricature after James. Gillray.

Plate 150, an original James Gillray copper engraving (1847-1851) from "The Works of James Gillray from the Original 18th Century Plates", published by Henry G. Bohn, London.
The plate has another b/w engraving on verso, as published by Bohn.

Pitt as an alchemist, but dressed as usual, sits in his laboratory blowing a furnace with bellows formed of a royal crown. The furnace heats a large glass retort in which the House of Commons is being dissolved: the galleries are collapsing, the Speaker's chair is breaking, he and the clerks are asleep, the broken mace drops from the table, the books fly into the air and ascend with documents, &c, into the curving neck of the retort: 'Coke', 'Acts', 'Statutes', 'Rights of Parliament', 'Magna Charta', 'Bill of Rights', a cap of 'Libertas', the scales of Justice are flying upwards.

The Ministerial members applaud, the Opposition are dismayed.
Sheridan and Fox, though tiny, are conspicuous on the front bench. A stream of vapour issues from the mouth of the retort containing tiny grovelling figures of abject members who fill both sides of another House of Commons above and behind the alchemist's head, and prostrate themselves before a miniature Pitt, who sits on a throne which replaces the Speaker's chair, and is inscribed 'Perpetual Dictator'.
He sits arrogantly, holding a sceptre; his legs are those of a bird of prey (cf. BMSat 7478), one foot is planted on 'Mag[na] C[harta]' and 'Acts of Parl[iament]'. His throne is surmounted by his crest, a stork holding an anchor, with the addition of a crown on the bird's head. A smaller retort on the extreme left, inscribed 'Aqua Regia', adds its vapour to that produced by Pitt. (Aqua Regia, used punningly, with a double meaning, is a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids which converts metals, even gold, into chlorides.)

From his pocket hangs a paper: 'Receipe - Antidotus Republica'. On the right of the circular furnace is a coal-scuttle, inscribed 'Treasury Cole' (cf. BMSat 6213), and overflowing with guineas. On the other side is a pestle and mortar in which is Britannia's shield, about to be broken up.

From the roof hang emblems of nefarious wizardry: a crocodile, a headsman's axe, a scorpion, a bull's head, a locust (cf. BMSat 8669), an asp issuing from an egg, a bat. On the wall are three rows of large jars, some with inscriptions: 'Ointment of Caterpillars' (beside Pitt's head, cf. BMSat 8676), '[Univer]sal Panacea', 'Oil of Influence', 'Extract of British Blood', 'Spirit of Sal: Machiavel.' 21 May 1796


Reference: Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942.

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 The dissolution; or the Alchymist producing an Aetherial Representation. (150). - GILLRAY, J.

The dissolution; or the Alchymist producing an Aetherial Representation. (150). - GILLRAY, J.
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Item category: Prints / Drawings | Decorative Prints










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