Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Print of the Day: The Coronation of King Punch, 1821

The Coronation of King Punch
Satirical Print, hand-colored
The British Museum

This hand-colored satirical print was featured in a July, 1821 pamphlet. It’s entitled “The Coronation of King Punch!!” and it was made by J. Lewis Marks.

Made for the coronation of King George IV, the image shows the former Prince Regent sitting before a huge bowl of punch which rests on a three-legged stool. King George IV has one famously gouty leg resting on a cushion and he jovially holds up goblet and ladle while an Archbishop places a chamber-pot on his head. Another archbishop pours dark liquid on to George’s face, saying, “With oil and Treacle—I anoint thee,—and King of jolly dogs—appoint thee.”

As we can guess, George IV, Queen Victoria’s uncle, was not well-liked. Considered debauched and, frankly, corrupt, he inspired many unflattering drawings like this when he ascended the throne.

This image has been nicknamed, “The history of the coronation of Punch, and the humours of his wife Judy.” This refers to George IV’s wife, Queen Caroline, from whom the adulterous king was famously separated. They enjoyed a rather Punch & Judy-like relationship. He refused to recognize her as Queen, and, in fact, barred her from his coronation. And, she, was rightfully bitter about it. That day, she fell ill, and died shortly after, declaring all the while that she believed she had been poisoned by her husband’s goons. 

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