Print, The ROYAL HUNT, or a PROSPECT of the YEAR 1782.

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  • Publisher: R. Owen After work by: Viscount Marquis Townshend
  • London, England
  • February 16, 1782
  • Black and White Line Engraving
  • 1960-97

The lower margin reads: "South Briton fecit/ North Briton Inv.t/ Published according to Act of Parliament by R. Owen, in Fleet Street Feb.y 1782."

Following the British defeat at Yorktown, satirists turned their efforts to unseating the political leaders responsible for it and also suggested ways to restore England to a position of power. The international scope of Britain's problems continues to be symbolized by sea-shore settings, and numbered explanations are still present, although here only suggestive letters appear, leaving it up to the knowledgeable to fill in the blanks.

Attributed to George Townshend, by this time at the end of his career as a satirist, the print is a strong attack on Britain's politicians. A group of these men carouse in the left foreground watched in disgust by the Opposition. Sitting between two loose women, (4) S--h (Sandwich) plays a violin and proclaims that now his only interest is in merry living. (5) N--h (North), seated on a bag inscribed Budg(et), yawns in boredom. (9) R---by (Richard Rigby), a former government supporter, has become critical and wishes Sandwich were in the bottomless pit (hell). (8) A---rst (Amherst) seeks Rigby's protection and (7) G---mn (Lord George Germain) compares the situation to Minden, scene of his greatest military defeat in the French and Indian War.

For the Opposition (6) W--- P---t (William Pitt, the Younger) tells North to shake off his indolence; (3) F---x (Charles Fox) asks what happened to the navy and islands lost during the war; (2) B---k (Burke) questions why such disasters will not move leaders to action; and (1) R--- (duke of Richmond) curses the men made great by the ruin of their country.

On the right Britannia weeps as (10) "The Temple of Fame, formerly the Wonder of the World, but now in Ruins" is destroyed. Symbolic of England's crumbling empire, all but two columns have fallen. Holland, America, and France are pulling down Gibraltar, one of the two remaining, while the kings of France and Spain watch.

The temple is decorated with figures and inscriptions representing earlier successful English leaders and victories. A Scotsman tries to escape from a window, as blame for the disaster is placed on Bute and his faction.

Ships of the victorious nations approach the defeated British navy. The title derives from the final satiric touch, the royal hunt led by George III, a familiar comment on his disinterest in state affairs.

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