The Duchess Canvassing for her Favourite MemberWhen to the cause she puts her hand, / No doubt her fav'rites Poll must stand.
Etching, rare, sheet approx 210 x 310mm (8¼ x 12½"). Trimmed inside platemark on top edge; offsetting; vertical creasing probably as issued; tear on right.
One of many satires on Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806), who canvassed effectively for Charles James Fox's whig party in the 1780s. In the 1784 election, George III and William Pitt were anxious for Fox to lose his seat, and satires against the Duchess were part of the campaign against Fox: 'Georgiana's very success in wooing voters made her a target for the pro-government press which launched a vicious campaign of calumny against her. The Morning Post led the attacks against her, beginning on 31 March 1784, with the insinuation that she was exchanging kisses for votes. Thereafter Georgiana was hounded by cartoons, handbills, ballads, and newspaper articles, all of which portrayed her as a sexually depraved woman who was corrupting the voters of Westminster' (DNB). Here, next to a sign reading 'Cockspur Street' (in the City of Westminster, but no doubt a double entendre here) the Duchess (covered with foxes' tails, as is another woman by her side) embraces a butcher, with her hand reaching under his apron while a chimney sweep (and his dog) look up her petticoat. On the right Lord Surrey (Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk) encourages a chimney sweep to vote for Fox. Surrey, a notorious drinker caricatured often by Gillray, holds a mug of beer and promises the sweep that Fox will 'reduce the price of gin and porter'. Copy in reverse of a print by William Dent (1783-93, fl.), and probably published in a periodical.
DNB; BM Satires 6527 (copy)
[Ref: 33692] £190.00