George Cruikshank (British, London 1792–1878 London)
Published by M. [or W. N.] Jones (London)
May 1, 1812
sheet: 8 3/4 x 20 15/16 in. (22.2 x 53.2 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917
Not on view
This light-hearted marine triumph casts George, Prince of Wales as a sea monster distracted by pleasure. In January 1812 the prince had officially become Regent and Cruikshank emphasizes his fleshly self-indulgence and weakness for mistresses and flatterers. When he became Regent, the prince surprised his former Whig friends by retaining the Tory Spencer Perceval as chief minister. Perceval, the fisherman of the title, stands in a small boat holding his prize fast on a golden chain while being showered by the "Dew of Favor." The disgruntled Whigs at left receive only "the Liquor of Oblivion." Clearly bored with politics, the Regent eyes a buxom mermaid, his most recent mistress Isabella, Marchioness of Hertford. He ignores both her scowling merman husband, and a second mermaid, his former mistress Maria Fitzherbert. The background colonnade represents Carlton House, the prince’s palatial home on Pall Mall.
From The Scourge, or Montly Expositor, part 17
Signature: in plate: "G. Cruikshank sculp"
Inscription: in plate: "Published May 1st by M Jones No. 5 Newgate Street"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.
Cohn no. 723, pt. 17, p. 207; British Museum Satires 11877; Reid 161
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. 58, pp. 80-81, ill.