Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/218

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146
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

contempt and dislike which had characterized them in their behaviour towards every denomination of Christians still prevailed in full force. The success, however, of the British arms in Egypt, and the expected restitution of that province to the Porte, seem to have wrought a wonderful and instantaneous change in the disposition of that power and its people towards ourselves;[1] and Lord Elgin, availing himself of these favourable circumstances, obtained in the summer of 1801, access to the Acropolis of Athens for general purposes, with a concession to "make excavations and to take away any stones that might appear interesting to himself." The result (shortly stated) was the excavation of the once celebrated "Elgin marbles," about which, if we are to credit the report from which we glean this information, his lordship would seem to have expended (including the interest of capital) some £74,000. The committee recommend the House, under these circumstances, coupled with the valuations which they had obtained from competent authorities, that £35,000 was "a reasonable and sufficient price to be paid for the collection," and their purchase appears to have been completed on the basis of these figures, a fact which forms the subject of the artist's undated and admirable satire of John Bull Buying Stones at the Time his Numerous Family Want Bread.

Unsigned, and under date of 25th of November, 1816, I find a caricature published by Fores, which seems to me due to the hand of George Cruikshank. It is entitled, The Nightmayor, "painted by Fuzeley," and represents a debased woman in the stertorous sleep of drunkenness, whose muddled dream-thoughts revert to the experiences with which her evil habits have made her so frequently familiar. The gin drinker has been brought before the Lord Mayor any number of times for being "drunk and disorderly," and accordingly her nightmare assumes the form of the city official, who sits upon the body clothed in his robes and invested with the insignia of his office. Appended to the satire are the following lines:—

  1. See Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Earl of Elgin's Collection … of Marbles ("Annual Reg.," 1816, p. 447).