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'Monstrous craws, at a new coalition feast' (Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; King George IV; King George III)

34 of 268 portraits of King George IV

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'Monstrous craws, at a new coalition feast' (Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; King George IV; King George III)

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
etching and aquatint, published 29 May 1787
14 3/4 in. x 18 7/8 in. (375 mm x 478 mm) plate size; 15 1/8 in. x 19 1/4 in. (383 mm x 489 mm) paper size
Purchased, 1947
Reference Collection
NPG D13061

Sittersback to top

Artistsback to top

  • Samuel William Fores (baptised 1761-1838), Printseller and publisher. Artist associated with 109 portraits.
  • James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Artist associated with 881 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The 'new coalition' of the title refers to the public announcement of a reconciliation between George III and the Prince of Wales. This was forged by a parliamentary vote granting the Prince of Wales over £161,000 to pay off his ever-increasing debts. It ended a long period of estrangement between the monarch and his eldest son. The royal group sits at the gates of the Treasury spooning vast ladles of guinea pieces into their greedy mouths with an undisguised voracity. The King and Queen sit facing each other, forcing yet more of John Bull's life-blood into their already swollen 'craws' - the large sacks of flesh hanging under their throats. Typically in Gillray's work Queen Charlotte is subject to a particularly vicious attack, caricatured as an avaricious old hag. The King cross-dresses as a peasant woman and the Prince of Wales wears a fool's cap, ornamented with his three-feathered emblem. He maintains a close watch on his mother as he ladles gold into a 'craw' pathetically drained by his extravagant and greedy behaviour. The brilliance of this print is enhanced by the hideous actions and grotesque appearance of the royal trio.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D13062: 'Monstrous craws, at a new coalition feast' (Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; King George IV; King George III) (from same plate)

Placesback to top

Events of 1787back to top

Current affairs

Social reformers Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson found the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade in London with support from John Wesley, Josiah Wedgwood and others.
George III shows first signs of mental instability in November.

Art and science

Painter Robert Barker takes out a patent on the Panorama..
Astronomer William Herschel discovers the two moons of Uranus, Titania and Oberon.
The original Lord's Cricket Ground holds its first cricket match.


Captain William Bligh sets sail for Tahiti on The Bounty.
First performance of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni at the National Theatre, Prague.
A British ship lands a party of freed slaves as the first modern settlers in Sierra Leone.
Captain Arthur Phillip leaves Portsmouth with eleven ships full of convicts to establish a penal colony in Australia.
Bahamas become a British colony.

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