Exhibitions/ Art Object

Cicero in Catilinam

Artist:
James Sayers (British, 1748–1823)
Publisher:
Published by Thomas Cornell (London)
Date:
March 17, 1785
Medium:
Etching
Dimensions:
plate: 13 7/16 x 11 1/4 in. (34.2 x 28.6 cm) sheet: 14 1/8 x 11 15/16 in. (35.8 x 30.3 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917
Accession Number:
17.3.888-29
Not on view
In November 1784, a year after King George III appointed him chief minister, William Pitt faced a general election that secured his claim to office. Here, he stands before the House of Commons, addressing his bitter rivals, Charles James Fox and Frederick Lord North, who squirm with anger at being forced onto Parliament’s Opposition Benches. Fox demonstrates disrespect by wearing his hat and chewing his fingers. North scowls and buries his head in papers. The printmaker expresses his admiration through the title which compares the youthful Pitt to Cicero, a statesman who preserved the Roman Republic by suppressing a coup d’état led by the patrician Catiline. Sayers has brilliantly reduced the complex rivalries driving British politics to a dynamic among three figures. Expressively, densely etched lines set the scene in a half-light suggestive of moral darkness.
Signature: in plate lower left below image: "J S f"

Inscription: in plate lower right: "publ-d 17th March 1785 by Tho-s Cornell Brunton Street"; the title at center below image, below which: "Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? quamdiu etiam/ furor iste tuus nos eludet? &c &c"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.

British Museum Satires VI.6784
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. 122, pp. 160-161, ill.



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