William Markham ('The church militant')

1 portrait of William Markham

William Markham ('The church militant'), by James Gillray, published by  William Humphrey, published 5 September 1779 - NPG D12279 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

William Markham ('The church militant')

by James Gillray, published by William Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 5 September 1779
9 5/8 in. x 13 7/8 in. (245 mm x 353 mm) paper size
Purchased, 1947
Reference Collection
NPG D12279

Click on the links below to find out more:

Sitterback to top

  • William Markham (1719-1807), Archbishop of York; Headmaster of Westminster School. Sitter in 10 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Artist associated with 881 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.
  • William Humphrey (1742?-before 1815), Engraver and printseller. Artist associated with 69 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In this early etching Gillray shows the Church to be greedy, self-serving and militaristic. A motley procession of armed clerics are led in a weary procession by the corpulent William Markham, Archbishop of York (1777-1807), on horseback holding a drawn sword. Two young choristers lead the singing. Their chorus is corrupted by the bishops behind who sing 'Give us good beef in store, when that's gone send us more, and the key of the cellar door, that we may drink. From labour and industry - good lord deliver us'. The subject of this satire was the belligerent Markham who was attacked by the Whig opposition in the House of Lords for allegedly inspiring the Church's support of the war against the American colonies.

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, something missing, or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have any information to share please complete the form below

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.