Queen Charlotte, George, Prince of Wales, and King George III ravenously ladle guineas into their mouths from a bowl marked "John Bull’s Blood." The money falls into bags attached to their necks – the monstrous craws of the title, a term normally applied to the crops of birds. Gillray used the imagery of gluttony to criticize the exorbitant demands on the public purse being made in 1787 by the British royal family. The worse offender was the prince, who sits at center. Parliament recently had granted him £161,000 (about thirteen million dollars today) to pay off debts, and raised his annual income to £60,000. Since the prince’s pouch remains empty, Gillray suggests this largesse will be insufficient. The king and queen, on the other hand, who were notoriously miserly in their living arrangements, are criticized for greedily ladling up coins that they do not actually need into grotesquely distended craws.
Signature: not signed
Inscription: in plate: "Pub-d May 29th 1787, by S. W. Fores, Piccadilly"
Powersby, "First Life Guards, 1861" (British); Mary Boydell; Donor: Dr. Philip van Ingen (American, 1875–1953)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.
Wright & Evans 24; British Museum Satires VI.7166; Grego, p. 88; Godfrey, Gillray 142
Nadine Orenstein, Constance C. McPhee Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine Exh. cat.: September 13, 2011 - March 4, 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2011, Entry by Constance McPhee, cat. no. 70, pp. 102-103, ill.