theme is #chaotic
and I’ve chosen this satirical scene of apocalypse presenting an English view of what would happen if the Scottish were in charge, from 1768.
Filled with period typical xenophobia, the print depicts the mouth of Hell opening to the left, a monstrous crocodile (named in the print as ”Moloch”), Scottish troops stabbing and shooting a civilian (on the right, a likely reference and willful misunderstanding of the events of the Massacre of St. George’s Fields), and all the while the popular proto-populist English politician, John Wilkes, is witnessing these scenes behind bars.
This image was evidently published by Wilkes’ faction, the Wilkites, on occasion of his return from exile and his immediate imprisonment for libel in 1768, which led to the events at St. George’s Fields in May. The print accuses the Scots, and in particular the former Scottish-born Prime Minister of Great Britain, Lord John Bute, for scheming for their own enrichment and for the detriment of the country. Bute is presented in the print as a jack-boot on the lower left corner, subsequently the boot is filled with snakes.
The print’s purpose is to suggest that as long as Wilkes remains in jail, the country is going to Hell in a handbasket.
Image © The Trustees of the British Museum
#etching #satire #britishart #georgian #eighteenthcentury #18thcentury #britishmuseum