A free born Englishman!!!

description below

A man in ragged clothes stands facing right, hunched forward under the weight of a basket of ‘Rents’ and ‘Taxes’ strapped to his back. His legs are shackled, his mouth is closed by a padlock, and his hands are tied behind him. Image enclosed within a circle.

  • Printmaker: Spence, William, -1797, printmaker.
  • Title: free born Englishman!!! [graphic] : The glory of civilized life & the envy of Indian nations! / W. Spence 1796.
  • Publication: [London] : Publishd. by T. Spence, Turn Stile, Holborn, [1796]

Catalog Record


Acquired April 2023

Iohn Bull on a bed of roses

description below

“John Bull, a plebeian, stout and dishevelled, lies on his back on a tangle of large roses with vicious thorns. These are on a heap of stones and under the stump of a decayed oak tree (left). He exclaims: “Oh Lord! Oh Lord! if this be the Bed of Roses they make such a noise about I’d sooner lye with the Old Sow and her Farrow in the Dog Days! – My Dame will roar woundidly when she comes to bed! Ecod it’s as bad as lying on a Harrow upside down.” The stones (left to right) are ‘Expedition to Holland’ [1799, see British Museum Satires No. 9412, &c], ‘Expedition to Ferrol’, ‘Jobs and Contracts’, ‘Pension List’, ‘Indemnity for the past & Security for the Future’, ‘No Peace possible with the child and Champion of Jacobinism’, ‘Places’, ‘Subsidies’. The roses are: ‘Candle Tax’, ‘Hair Powder Tax’, ‘Hat Tax’, ‘Paper Tax’, ‘Snuff Tax’, ‘Game Tax’, ‘Wine Tax’, ‘Property Tax’, ‘Salt Tax’, ‘Land Tax’, ‘Stamp Tax’, ‘Assessed Taxes’, ‘Income Tax’, ‘Table Beer Tax’, ‘House Tax’, ‘Window Tax’, ‘Excise Duty’, ‘Horse Tax’, ‘Tobacco Tax’, ‘Soap Tax’, ‘Servant Tax’, ‘Malt Tax’, ‘Hop Tax’, ‘Sugar Tax’, ‘Legacy Tax’, ‘Tea Tax’, ‘Cyder Tax’. On the two extremities of the ‘bed’ are clusters of thorny buds; these are inscribed ‘1807’, ‘1808’, and [once] ‘1809’, those on the left being labelled ‘National Debt’. In the distance St. Paul’s is indicated. Bushes on the right are wind-swept.”–British Museum online catalogue.


  • Printmaker: Williams, Charles, active 1797-1830, printmaker.
  • Title: Iohn Bull on a bed of roses [graphic].
  • Publication: [London] : Pubd. July 1806 by Wm. Holland, Cockspur Street, [July 1806]

Catalog Record


Acquired November 2020

A great stream from a petty fountain

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A torrent of taxes gushes from the mouth of Lord Henry Petty, chancellor of the exchequer, emptying into the “Unfathomable Sea of Taxation” in which John Bull is drowning in full view of greedy cormorants representing members of the Grenville ministry which was formed after the death of William Pitt.

  • Printmaker: Williams, Charles, fl. 1797-1830, printmaker.
  • Title: A great stream from a petty fountain, or, John Bull swamped in the flood of new-taxes [graphic] : cormorants fishing in the stream.
  • Published: [London : Pubd. May 1806, by S.W. Fores, No. 50 Piccadilly, 1806].

Catalog Record  & Digital Collection


Acquired December 2004