The Age of George III

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Coriolanus addressing the Plebeians (1820)

This is a Cruikshank cartoon.

Coriolanus addressing the Plebeians

This is a pro-government cartoon produced by George Cruikshank in 1820, a time when there was great distress in the country.

George IV is portrayed in a completely new guise, as the defender of law and order. He is dressed in Roman clothing and stands in front of the screen of Carlton House, outfacing the mutinous rabble which includes portraits of many of Cruikshanks' political associates. Cruikshank separates the reformers: the extremists are on the left, the moderates are on the right. They are all cowering back in the face of a tirade from the new king. [Sadly, I can't read the text].

"Coriolanus" is less a caricature than a tableau vivant. It was invented by "J. S.", whom Mr Layard says was Cruikshank's gifted servant Joseph Sleap.

Detail of the cartoon

detail of Coriolanus

The "Plebeians" are Thistlewood the conspirator; Cobbett stands in the centre, armed with Tom Paine's thigh bones, Wooler is shown as a black dwarf. George Cruikshank is on the extreme right, behind Hone, holding a caricature portfolio. George IV. in his Shakespearean role abuses them soundly. As regards the monarch, the work is un-Cruikshankian ; its laborious and minute technique is a foreshadowing of a happier carefulness.

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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