Something to Look at or the Return of the Embassy. Caricature.
(London): (Pubd. Octor. 1817 by J. Johnston), (1817). A caricature, unrecorded in the British Museum Catalogue, poking fun at the tradition of explorers bringing individuals and/or animals from their travels back to England, as did James Cook, bringing Omai from Tahiti. As usual, the caricature takes aim at politicians as sycophants and the waste of vast amounts of public money. It is not clear what the "Embassy" is in this case, but it could be the three Kandyan Wars which the British waged in Sri Lanka 1803-05, 1815 and 1817-18. The print depicts an ape with walking stick strolling arm in arm with a gentleman in top hat, tails and cane, together on a London street as a soldier gapes in astonishment at them. The gentleman is saying to the monkey, "Egad Friend it's very lucky I met with you!! but for you John Bull would have had nothing to look at for his 50 Thousand!! mind when you are introduced we have no such stupid ceremony as knocking off heads. Our courtiers kiss bottoms, attend to this & you'll be certain of a Seat or a Sinecure!" Below the image to left and right of title are a French proverb and a line from Shakespeare, "Nimble mischance that art so light of foot. Doth not thy Embassy belong to me". This is a quote from Richard II, Act III, Scene IV, 96-97.
The print is recorded at the Library of Congress (see pictures item 2006681631) as follows: "This record contains unverified, old data from an unpublished P&P checklist, "British Political and Social Caricatures, 1655-1832 ... not in the published catalogs of the British Museum," compiled in 1968 (NC 1470.M4. Vol. 2). Not found in British Museum Catalogue (BMC)."
Copper engraving with original hand color, 10 x 14" laid down on card stock. The title "Something to look at" is repeated in ink in a period hand below the impression mark. A couple of closed tears in margins, not affecting image, a little dusty but overall a good copy of an unusual image. Very good overall. Item #20095