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  • Attributed to: James Gillray
  • London, England
  • August 20, 1782
  • Black and white etching and line engraving
  • 1960-105

The lower margin reads: "The THUNDERER./ Vide: Every Man in his Humour, alter'd from Ben Johnson."

After distinguishing himself in the southern campaigns during the Revolution, Col. Banastre Tarleton returned to London as a hero. This image was quickly tarnished as he adopted a flamboyant lifestyle that included taking Mrs. Perdita Robinson as his mistress after she was abandoned by the Prince of Wales. The satirist lost no time in making Tarleton an object of ridicule and scorn.

Tarleton is depicted in a pose modeled after the famous portrait of him by Sir Joshua Reynolds, but he is presented as Bobadill, a vain, boastful character in Ben Jonson's play "Every Man in his own Humor." In bragging words he addresses the Prince of Wales, who has only plumes for a head: "They have assaulted me some Three, Four, Five, Six of them together, & I have driven them afore me like a Flock of Sheep;..." Tarleton continues to enumerate his conquests. The prince responds, "I’d as lief as twenty Crowns I could talk as fine as you, Capt."

The maker has set the satire before a brothel, symbolized most prominently by the figure of a whore, legs outstretched, and further identified, "This is the Lad'll Kiss most sweet. Who'd not love a Soldier?" The vine branch struck in the sign indicates that wine is also available.

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