Reposing on a bed of roses

“Ministers recline on a large low platform, representing a magnificent state bed, which is completely covered with roses. It recedes in perspective from left to right. On the left is Fox, looking sourly over his left shoulder at his neighbour, Sheridan, to say: “This is the most uncomfortable bed I was ever on in my Life and not the least like a bed of Roses – Zound!! what a thorn is running into me – Oh that Bramble – Sherry my Dear how do you find it – “. Sheridan answers: “My dear Charley, I have not had a wink since I have been on it, – curse that Castle man what did he mean by his bed of roses – I am as sore from the tip of my Nose, to the tip of my Toe – as if I had been roling on a quick set-hedge – or stung to death by a swarm of bees at a Hampshire Farmers [an allusion to Cobbett’s pen]”. Behind Fox, and in profile to the left, Moira, in uniform, with cocked hat and jack-boots, sits up, very erect; he says: “What are Cannons or Bombs or clashing of swords, compared to the pain I endure.” Windham, next Sheridan, registering melancholy, says: “I feel more uneasy than if the whole Volunteer force was upon me.” Ellenborough, behind Sheridan and Windham, ill-temperedly puts his hand to his wig. Erskine, also in wig and gown, reclines as if exhausted, his eyes closed, his attitude characteristic of his notorious fainting in court (see British Museum Satires No. 7956). He and Grey (Lord Howick from 11 Apr.), who sits behind him, are in profile to the right; the latter says: “It is just such a bed, as I expected the late bungling bed makers would leave us.” On the extreme right little Lord Henry Petty (wearing his Chancellor of the Exchequer’s gown) sits up, angrily holding above his head two handfuls of thorn-branches. He says: “I shall never have done clearing the brambles and Nettles from this Bed, my Budget would not hold one half of them.” The low frame of the bed is carved and has a valance of fringed and festooned draperies. At the head are the Royal Arms; looped curtains are suspended above it.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Printmaker: Williams, Charles, active 1797-1830, printmaker.
  • Title: Reposing on a bed of roses [graphic] / Argus invt.
  • Publication: [London] : Pubd. April 1806 by Walker, 7 Cornhill, [April 1806]

Catalog RecordĀ 


Acquired October 2019

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