“Two Pair of Portraits;” – presented to all the unbiassed Electors of Great Britain, by John Horne Tooke.

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    The radical humanist John Horne Tooke is depicted in this satirical print as an artist, with portraits of Charles James Fox (left hand side) and William Pitt the younger (right hand side) on his easel. On the floor behind the easel are portraits of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham (father of William Pitt the Younger) and Henry Fox, Lord Holland (father of Charles James Fox). The speech bubble from Tooke’s mouth reads:

    ‘Which two of them will you chuse [sic] to hang in your Cabinets: the PITTS, or the FOXES? Where on your conscience should the other two be hanged?’

    The cartoon ‘Two Pair of Portraits’ was published in 1798 for the ‘Anti-Jacobin Review’, a paper which attacked the Jacobins: an extremist group responsible for the period of violence during the French Revolution known as the Reign of Terror. The scene is a reference to John Horne Tooke’s pamphlet also titled ‘Two Pairs of Portraits’, published for the Westminster election of 1788. In it, Tooke compared the Pitts and the Foxes, making clear his wholehearted support of the Pitts. The words spoken by Tooke are the final lines of that pamphlet.

  • About the artist
    James Gillray was a draughtsman, etcher and engraver of caricatures. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and learned the technique of stipple engraving from William Wynne Ryland and Francesco Bartolozzi. Gillray produced several notable plates in this medium to his own designs and after paintings by Northcote, while simultaneously establishing himself as a caricaturist. By the end of 1791, all his caricatures were published by Mrs Hannah Humphrey, with whom he lived for the rest of his life. In 1807, his eyesight began to deteriorate and in the same year he had a nervous breakdown. He died at his home in Westminster, aged 58.

  • Explore
    Tooke, John HorneFox, Charles JamesFox, Henry, 1st Baron Holland of FoxleyPitt, WilliamPitt, William, 1st Earl of Chatham
    Materials & Techniques
    engraving, coloured engraving
  • Details
    “Two Pair of Portraits;” – presented to all the unbiassed Electors of Great Britain, by John Horne Tooke.
    Coloured engraving
    height: 18.40 cm, width: 22.80 cm
    Purchased from O'Shea Gallery, December 1995
    GAC number