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'The pigs possessed: - or - the Broad Bottom'd litter running headlong into ye sea of perdition'

9 of 18 portraits of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford

'The pigs possessed: - or - the Broad Bottom'd litter running headlong into ye sea of perdition', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey, published 18 April 1807 - NPG D12888 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

'The pigs possessed: - or - the Broad Bottom'd litter running headlong into ye sea of perdition'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 18 April 1807
16 1/4 in. x 11 7/8 in. (412 mm x 302 mm) plate size; 16 3/4 in. x 12 1/8 in. (426 mm x 309 mm) paper size
Purchased, 1947
Reference Collection
NPG D12888


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Artistsback to top

  • James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Artist associated with 881 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.
  • Hannah Humphrey (active 1778-1822), Publisher and printseller. Artist associated with 717 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

The 'Ministry of All the Talents' was a coalition government formed under William Wyndham Grenville after the Tory William Pitt's death in January 1806. The members of the 'Ministry of All the Talents' were known as 'Broadbottoms' because of their wide political spectrum and their large posteriors. They are imagined here transformed into suicidal swine throwing themselves into the sea. George III is returned to his role as the long-suffering 'Farmer George', herding his unruly government off the edge of the cliff. A tardy Sheridan, reluctant to quit office, is kicked away to join the others. The fall of this coalition ministry after only 15 months in office was precipitated by the King's strong opposition to the Army Bill which proposed to extend Catholic emancipation to the armed forces.