c 1804 English Caricature - A Disagreeable Surprise


A whimsical and highly detailed etching with original hand-coloring. This satire is titled “A DISAGREEABLE SURPRISE. Specimens of Dramatic Phrensy.” Drawn by George M. Woodward (1760-1809), and published in London by S. W. Fores, c. 1804.

British Museum description:  Two candidates for Middlesex, Burdett & Mainwaring, stand in foreground… 'Burdett & Independence 70,000 Pr Anm, Stake in the Country' & 'Mainwaring And Corrupt Influence with o.o.o Stake in the Country'; to the staff of latter is fixed a pad-locked collecting-box. Burdett is tall, athletic, handsome, & well-bred. Mainwaring squints, knock-kneed & feeble, & looks vulgar & untrustworthy. Hustings stretch across background. Voters approach; poll-clerks sit facing them; behind are candidates' supporters, shadowy figures... A voter walks off, but a man calls him back: "Holloa Mr this Fellow has not marked your Vote you had better come back and see him do it." Another gesticulates angrily: "You have decied me & robbed me of my Franchise & I'll seek legal redress." A third: "I say you Fellow what do you eatt by marking my Vote to the wrong Candidate I told you Sr Francis Burdett." Another voter is told: "I dont think you have any right to Poll, beside I am ordered to Object to every one on your Side therfore you must go to the Sheriffs." Two men on the hustings say: "I dont Rellish ['M' scored through & replaced by 'R', showing that the speaker is Mellish] your going to those Votes for if you do they'll have a large Majority"; "It's true I did promise to examine your Votes but since I have been instructed not." A man stands beside a voter saying, "Don't let them bamboozle you…". A constable takes a man by the collar, saying, "If you don't Vote for Aris's Friend you shall lose your Licence."

Image Size: 9 1/4 x 13 1/2 inches, Paper Size: 9 5/8 x 14 1/2 inches

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  • Inventory# MA-633