Satire on attempts to enforce Observance of the Sabbath. John Bull sits miserably in a corner of a room. In the five lines etched at the top of the image, we learn that he has no food or tobacco and is unable to go out for fear of the ‘Arm’d Blue Devil’ (i.e., a bearded ‘bobby’ or a Metropolitan Policeman, a member of the force founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1829) who can be seen through a window with a cracked pane. John Bull complainant about “Observing the Sabbath with a vengeance” is a response to Sir Andrew Agnew, the Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire, attempt to enforce better Observance of the Sabbath through the introduction of four bills to the House of Commons between 1830 and 1847. On his third attempt Charles Dickens wrote ‘Sunday Under Three Heads’ (1836), a personal attack on Agnew, whom he described as a fanatic, motivated by resentment of the idea that those poorer than himself might have any pleasure in life. Agnew left Parliament in 1837, ending the campaign.
- Printmaker: Grant, C. J. (Charles Jameson), active 1830-1852, printmaker.
- Title: John Bull, or, An Englishman’s fireside! [graphic] / C.J. Grant.
- Published: London : Pub. by G. Tregear, 123 Cheapside, April 1833.
Catalog Record & Digital Collection
Acquired March 2014