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.
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