c 1809 English Caricature - Satire on Charles Flower


A whimsical and highly detailed etching with original hand-coloring. This satire is titled “THE FLOWER OF THE CITY”. Artist: Thomas Rowlandson. A satire on Charles Flower, Lord Mayor of London. Published in London by Thomas Tegg, c. 1809.

British Museum description: The centre of a sunflower encloses a bust portrait of an ugly elderly man with a sly expression. The stem, inscribed Weak Stocky rises from a tub of Rank Butter which rests on two cheeses, the upper inscribed Mouldy, the lower Rotten; in the latter is a Rat Hole, with rats scampering in & out. The leaves of the plant droop, many have fallen off. Each has an inscription: Vulgarity, Arrogance, Treacherous, Pernicious, Measly Pork, Defence of Rights, Lecherous, Overreaching, Stinking, Popularity, Poisonous, Upstart, Ill favoured, Oppression, Crafty, Rusty Bacon, Hogs Lard, Baneful, Avaricious, Odious, Pitiful, Contempti[ble], Narrow Minded, Servile, Insignificance, Jesuitical, Rotten Ripe, Sweatty, Dam—d. There is a background of clouds, & from behind a cloud in the upper left corner a demon blows a blast from a trumpet at the sunflower.

Below the title: The Flow'r of the City, so gaudy and fine 'Midst proud ones the proudest was erst known to shine It spread its gay leaves; and it shewed its rich clothes, And to all (less in consequence) turn'd up its nose! Till a blight, a sad blight, from a Democrat wind, Struck the Sensitive Plant both before and behind, It felt the keen blast! all its arrogance fled, And the Flow'r of the City hung, hung down its head! The Flow'r of the City, thus doom'd to despair Droops, pines, and with wailing empregnates the air! …The world, the base world, gives but hisses and groans! For ever! for ever! its proud hopes are fled. And the Flow'r of the City hangs, hangs, down its head.

Image Size: 13 x 8 3/4 inches, Paper Size:16 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches

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  • Inventory# MA-630