Execution of two celebrated enemies of Old England

printed text

The arms of two gibbets extend symmetrically, high above a bonfire; between them is an equally high post supporting a board on which the title is etched. From one (right) dangles a realistic effigy of Napoleon (scarcely caricatured) in cocked hat, uniform, and Hessian boots. From the other hangs a ruffianly fellow holding a dark lantern. They face each other in profile.

  • Creator: Rowlandson, Thomas, 1756-1827, artist.
  • Title: Execution of two celebrated enemies of Old England & their dying speeches, Nov. 5th, 1813 [art original].
  • Production: [England], [1813]

Catalog Record

Drawings R79 no. 22 Box D305

Acquired April 2023

Peeling a Charley

“Peel kicks a lean old watchman behind, and drags from his shoulders his patched and tattered coat. Just behind him (right) is a big bonfire in which a watch-box and battered lanterns are blazing; beside it lie more lanterns, a rattle, and staves. In the background a watchman hangs by the neck from the branch of a tree, still holding rattle and lantern. Beside the tree is a pond from which projects an arm clutching a rattle. Peel says: ‘”But such a poor, bare-forked animal as thou art–Off–off you lendings: come unbutton here vide Shaks–‘ [“Lear”, III. iv]. The terrified watchman answers: ‘”Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that: You take my house, when you do take the prop That doth sustain my house; you take my life, When you do take the means whereby I live, vide Shaks.’ [“Merchant of Venice”, IV. i].”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Printmaker: Heath, William, 1795-1840, printmaker.
  • Title: Peeling a Charley [graphic] / William Heath.
  • Publication: [London] : Pub. Sep. 29th, 1829, by T. McLean, 26 Haymarket …, [29 September 1829]

Catalog RecordĀ 


Acquired October 2018