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Prints - English 14th-19th c.

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The Bear and His Leader

19th century
25 cm x 35.5 cm (9 13/16 in. x 14 in.)

James Gillray (London, 1757 - 1815, London) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, English
Medium and Support: Etching and soft-ground etching with hand-coloring
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Anonymous gift, 2010
Accession Number: 2010.69

Charles James Fox, Prime Minister William Pitt’s opposition, was never in the king’s good graces and remained in Pitt’s shadow for most of his political career. Political big wigs Grenville and Sidmouth formed a new ministry after Pitt’s death and named Fox Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. Sympathetic to the French, he holds a Phrygian cap, a symbol of the French Revolution. Gillray portrays Fox as a muzzled bear lead by Lord Grenville, dancing to the music played by Lord Sidmouth, suggesting that Fox owes his political status solely to Grenville’s charity. Notice Pro Bono Publico (“for the public good”) printed on the flyer tacked to the wall in the upper left corner of the composition.

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