'The Union Club'
77 of 268 portraits of King George IV
'The Union Club'
by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 21 January 1801
11 3/4 in. x 17 1/4 in. (299 mm x 437 mm) plate size; 12 in. x 17 5/8 in. (305 mm x 448 mm) paper size
Artistsback to top
Sittersback to top
- Sir Jonah Barrington (1760-1834), Lawyer. Sitter associated with 1 portrait. Identify
- Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford (1765-1802), Whig politician and agriculturist. Sitter associated with 38 portraits. Identify
- Thomas Pitt, 2nd Baron Camelford (1775-1804). Sitter in 5 portraits. Identify
- George James Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley (1749-1827), Chamberlain to the Prince of Wales. Sitter associated with 16 portraits. Identify
- William Henry Fortescue, Earl of Clermont (1722-1806), Irish politician; MP for Louth and Monaghan. Sitter associated with 4 portraits. Identify
- George Hanger, 4th Baron Coleraine (1751?-1824), Eccentric. Sitter in 20 portraits. Identify
- Thomas Davies (circa 1737-1812), Caricaturist and Major-General. Sitter associated with 4 portraits. Identify
- Edward Smith Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby (1752-1834), Sportsman and patron of horse-racing. Sitter associated with 65 portraits. Identify
- Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine (1750-1823), Lord Chancellor. Sitter associated with 69 portraits. Identify
- Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Whig statesman. Sitter associated with 308 portraits. Identify
- King George IV (1762-1830), Regent 1811-19; Reigned 1820-30. Sitter associated with 273 portraits. Identify
- Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings (1754-1826), Army officer and Politician, Governor-General of India. Sitter in 46 portraits. Identify
- Thomas Tyrwhitt Jones (1765-1811), Politician; MP for several constituencies. Sitter in 8 portraits. Identify
- Sholto Henry Maclellan, 8th Baron Kirkcudbright (1771-1827). Sitter in 3 portraits. Identify
- William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne (1737-1805), Prime Minister and patron of the arts. Sitter associated with 68 portraits. Identify
- Montague James Mathew (1773-1819), General and politician. Sitter in 4 portraits. Identify
- John Nicholls (1745?-1832), Politician; MP for Bletchingley and Tregony. Sitter in 20 portraits. Identify
- Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk (1746-1815), Politician; MP for Carlise and Arundel. Sitter associated with 55 portraits. Identify
- George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford (1730-1791), Rake and eccentric. Sitter associated with 6 portraits. Identify
- Samuel Parr (1747-1825), Pedagogue and Whig pamphleteer. Sitter in 18 portraits. Identify
- William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensberry (1724-1810), Rake and patron of the turf. Sitter associated with 12 portraits. Identify
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), Dramatist and parliamentary orator. Sitter associated with 168 portraits. Identify
- Sir Lumley St George Skeffington (1771-1850), Fop and playwright. Sitter in 6 portraits. Identify
- Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope (1753-1816), Scientist and politician; MP for Wycombe. Sitter associated with 46 portraits. Identify
- Charles Sturt (1763-1812), Politician; MP for Bridport. Sitter associated with 2 portraits. Identify
- George Tierney (1761-1830), Politician; MP for Southwark and Knaresborough. Sitter associated with 51 portraits. Identify
This portraitback to top
This scene of drunken debauchery was a response to a formal print published to celebrate the first meeting of the Union Club, founded after England and Ireland were united in 1800. In the original illustration of the grand inaugural dinner, the Prince of Wales presided over a convivial scene seated on an elaborate throne. Gillray's version highlights the contentious nature of the Union by showing the Prince lying drunk under the table. Above him, the opposition leader Charles James Fox is collapsed in a chair, his feet propped on the table. All those not incapacitated or fighting drink a toast to the Union. Prominent among them are the Irish MP Lord Moira in a green jacket and Lord Cholmondely who raises his hat. The well-known fop Sir Lumley St George Skeffington dances in tipsily from the far right on the arm of an Irish friend.
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1801back to top
Current affairsWlliam Pitt and Lord Castlereagh both resign over the King's refusal to permit the introduction of Catholic emancipation. Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth succeeds Pitt as Prime Minister.
Census records 9 million people living in England and Wales, 5.2 million in Ireland and 1.6 million in Scotland.
Art and scienceRadical writer, Amelia Opie publishes her best known novel The Father and the Daughter. Said to have reduced Walter Scott to tears, it went on to enjoy success as an opera and a play.
InternationalOther members of the First Coalition fighting France with Britain agree to a humiliating peace treaty and Britain fights on alone.
A successful campaign is fought against the French army marooned in Egypt. General Sir Ralph Abercromby leads the troops but is killed in action.
Thomas Jefferson is elected President of the United States.
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