Contemporary Political Cartoons
As a member of the Prince of Wales' close circle of roistering cronies, George
shows up as set dressing in some of the satirical jibes aimed at the Prince.
He can be immediately recognized by his beak of a nose, which was just made to
The Tree of Liberty by James Gillray. Published February
17th, 1797. The heads of the Opposition cut off in the French manner, a
measure which the violent Tories felt would vastly improve the situation in
the country. George's head is on the right, in profile to show off his famous nose. The head
Charles James Fox
is impaled on the point of the spear.
Westminster Conscripts Under The Training Act by James
Gillray. Published Sept. 1st, 1806. This plate satirizes the attempts of the
Whig faction to establish an "ignominious" peace with Napoleon. In
the image, Napoleon has given the command to "ground arms." Several
of the Whigs, including George (wearing a cockade in his hat) obey the
command. The tall, skinny, startled-looking fellow with the big hat, who has
just accidentally discharged his musket into the air, is the Earl of Moira,
who fought in the Revolution as Lord Rawdon.
Georgey A Cock Horse by James Gillray. Published Nov. 23rd,
1796. "Colonel George Hanger, afterwards Lord Coleraine, was one of the
most celebrated characters of his day, and is often, figured in the present
series of prints. He is here represented at the tavern called the Mount, in
Lower Grosvenor Street, celebrated at this time as the meetingplace of a club
of wits who lived joyously."1
Staggering Bobs, A Tale For Scotchmen; Or, Munchausen Driving His
Calves To Market by James Gillray. Published Dec. lst, 1796.
All Wright has to say about this peculiar image is "A caricature on
Colonel Hanger, afterwards Lord Coleraine. The noble Scot alluded to is said
to have been Lord Galloway."2
In a recent study of Gillray, Draper Hill offers more helpful
information. According to him, the earlier cartoon, "Georgey a'
Cock-horse," caused the Earl of Erroll -- who belonged to a different
political faction -- to make disparaging comments about George's Scottish pony
at Stevens's Coffee House on St. James's Street. (Hence the subtitle of the
cartoon, "This piece is dedicated to Lord Exxxl, his party and the
Frequenters of Stevens's in general.") Hill isn't specific beyond that,
but one assumes George, in turn, defended his pony's prowess with boasts which
inspired this second image. "Staggering Bob" was contemporary Scots
slang for a veal calf.3
Georgey's rambling dialogue in the corner reads "Here they are my
Lord, here's the slunk Calves, by G__ ... no allusion, d__m me ... almost
forgot you was a North-Country-Man! Runt carries weight well! No less than
Thirteen d_mme! Come push about the Bottle, & I'll tell you the Story: ... In
Scotland they eat no Veal, ... No Veal, by G__! nothing but Staggering Bobs
... by G__! ... on my Honor & Soul I mean no insult! ... but Tattersal he
swore, d__m me, if he didn't, ... that on a small Scotch Runt, he saw, G__
d__n my blood ... how many d'ye think he saw? ... ("Saw what, Georgey?...) ...
why Calves! ... Staggering Bobs to be sure! ...why d'ye think he saw
Seventeen? ... no! but d__me, by G--, he saw Thirteen!!! ... & all just
upon such another little Cock-Horse as my own!!!"
The Loss Of The Faro Bank; Or, The Rooks Pigeoned by James
Gillray. Published Feb. 2nd, 1797. The overall plate is a satire on the rage
for gambling among the aristocracy. The three women, including Lady
Buckinghamshire, were notorious gamesters. George is again seen in the
background, toting a cudgel. He had something of a penchant for
getting himself involved in street brawls.
Wife or No Wife by James Gillray. This cartoon marks
the (not so) secret morganatic marriage between the Prince of Wales and Mrs.
Fitzherbert in 1785. The stout man asleep on the left is Lord North, who was
Prime Minister through most of the American Revolution. The black-haired man
holding Mrs. Fitzherbert's left hand is Charles James Fox, leader of the
radical Whigs, and another entry (along with Tarleton and the Prince of Wales)
on the list of Mary Robinson's lovers. If you look
between Mrs. Fitzherbert and Fox, you can just see George Hanger's profile.
This cartoon is part of a multi-panel jibe at the Prince of Wales published in
1816. The various panels illustrate the stages of Prinny's life, with this one
labelled "No Gent." Again, Charles James Fox is recognizable by his
bushy black eyebrows. George is the skinny, hook-nosed rake on the right side
of the image. The pock-marked fellow behind him is playwright/politician
Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
A detail from
Political Dreamings! Visions of Peace! Perspective Horrors!
by James Gillray. Published November 9th 1801. The overall plate is a
commentary on the politics of the short-lived peace with France. George is
part of a group of mice in one corner, gnawing on the leavings.