Committee of Taste, or, The punishment of a modern Midas

description below

“A satire on the rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre. Whitbread, Chairman of the Committee, bestrides a barrel, the head inscribed ‘The Butt M, T’ [empty]. He has long ass’s ears and points to a table beside him on the extreme right where there is a model of a theatre with a pillared portico and pediment. This rests on a paper inscribed ‘Whitbread Copeland Holland Rolls &ca clear gains 450000!!!!!’ Next Whitbread a man sits behind a similar table littered with plans all inscribed ‘Plan of Drury Lane’. He also has ass’s ears, to which a second pair has been added in water-colour. He looks through an eye-glass, resting his right elbow on an anchor, while he holds at arm’s length the model of a theatre whose portico is flanked by two large sphinxes. A carved sun, like the emblem of the Sun Fire-Office, decorates his chair; on the right is a broad post or terminal pillar supporting a man’s head, also with ass’s ears. This rests on a volume inscribed ‘Commons’, and on its face in large letters are the words ‘Ex Nihilo Nihil Fil’; from its upper edge a signpost arm projects to the right inscribed ‘To Coventry’, showing that he is Peter Moore. Behind Whitbread (left) and partly screened by a heavy curtain is a table supporting a third model of a theatre, also with a portico. Whitbread, frowning slightly, says: “These Resolutions once carried good bye Friend Sherry Old Claimants and new Subscribers (aside) Hem! I think I have bullied the Committe [sic] properly.” His neighbour (? Lord Holland) who smiles, has a round good-humoured face; he says: “La! Mr Chairman I think my Sphynxes look Monstrous Pretty.””–British Museum online catalogue.


  • Printmaker: Williams, Charles, active 1797-1830, printmaker.
  • Title: Committee of Taste, or, The punishment of a modern Midas [graphic] : dedicated (without permission) to the subscribers to the New Theatre Drury Lane.
  • Publication: [London] : [publisher not identified], [1812?]

Catalog Record


Acquired January 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *