carolineplate

This transfer-print plate on Queen Caroline‘s trial caught my eye recently. Although technically not graphic satire as such, the design was evidently influenced by the plethora of illustrated political pamphlets which were being published around the time this plate was manufactured. The use of a children’s nursery rhyme as a vehicle for subversive political satire for example, was clearly inspired by William Hone and George Cruikshank’s The Political House that Jack Built (1819), while the “Green Bags” were a recurring motif in caricatures on the trial.

Unfortunately the design is a little worn and dirty, meaning you’d have to be feeling particularly brave or foolhardy to take the title of this post literally. However the verse is just about legible. It reads:

I’ll sing a song of sixpence / A Green Bag full of lies / four and twenty witnesses / All paid to be spies / When the Bag was opened / The Lords began to stare / To see their previous evidence / All vanish’d into air!

This is surrounded by a floral border intertwined with a scroll carrying the legends ‘Long Live Caroline’ and ‘Queen of England’ as well as the names of the members of the Queen’s counsel.

I would guess this piece was produced as a commemorative item shortly after the government announced the withdrawal of the Bill of Pains and Penalties, intended to dissolve the royal marriage and strip Caroline of her title, in November 1820.

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