Single Combat in Moor-fields or Magnanimous Paul O' - challenging All O'.
Pub.d 30 January 1801 by R. Ackermann N 101 Strand.
Etching with small margins, printed in sepia and hand finished. 290 x 345mm (11½ x 13½"). Repair in top edge, laid on card.
On a raised platform an armoured William Pitt prepares to duel a Russian bear with the name of 'Paul' on its collar, while the bear's showman nearsightedly reads the script promising to take on all comers. It is a satire on the increasingly aggressive posturing of Tsar Paul I (1754-1801). Annoyed by Britain's refusal to return Malta to the Knights of St John (and Russian control) after it was retaken from the French in 1800, Russia turned from being a British ally in the invasion of Holland in 1799 to joining with the Scandinavian countries to prevent British ships entering the Baltic and plotting an invasion of British India by early 1801. Pitt's strengths are listed on his shield: Howe, Duncan, Nelson, Jervaise, Warren & Parker, the names of the admirals that made the Royal Navy unbeatable. George posits that the location of Moorfields is designed to connect 'Bedlam', the mental hospital there, with Paul's increasingly erratic behaviour. Three months after this satire was published Nelson bombarded Copenhagen before pushing towards St Petersburg. However before he arrived Paul had been assassinated; his successor, Paul's son Alexander I, sued for peace. Military interest.
BM Satire: 9702.
[Ref: 32692] £250.00