SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY, OR, THE RIGHTS OF MAN MAINTAINED. Thomas Paine, William Dent.

SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY, OR, THE RIGHTS OF MAN MAINTAINED.

[London]: William Dent, January 23, 1792. Oblong lithograph folio, 10-1/2" x 16-1/4". Printed in black ink. Outer two inches of the print are archivally reinforced on the blank verso, repairing several closed tears [no loss]. Good+.

"William Dent's 1792 'Spirit of Democracy' portrayed Fox using a whip to drive monarchs before him, the cap of liberty appearing in the background" [Baer, The Rise and Fall of Radical Westminster, page 237]. Fox also has an axe in his belt, the name "Cromwell'" on the blade. Waving his whip, he shouts, "There! there. take that and that! I'll make good Men of you. I'll tickle your Bottoms and make your Tops light - and Oh! that I dare whip up a Crown for my Pains... Most glorious Fabric of Human Wisdom." The kings run past a sign pointing in the direction of their escape; it reads "To Equality. Or, Annihilation." One king has stumbled; his crown falls from his head; the others run over him. The smiling sun, shining down from the top right corner, says, "I shine on all alike." A plant grows from a pot labeled "National Assembly" with flowers sprouting from the center; the word "AMERICAN" appears near the base of the flowers; "For the People" appears above each sprout. A female figure stands in the background wearing a short robe; she holds a pole topped with a bright beacon over her head. The British Museum says this print is the pair to "Spirit of Aristocracy..." [British Museum, Call No. 1987, 0516.11.]
The British Museum describes William Dent as a printmaker and caricaturist, active from about 1783-1793. He designed and colored his plates himself. Although Dent was frequently in the pay of the British government, "Loyalist caricaturists such as Isaac Cruikshank and William Dent provided visual evidence that reformers were undercover dis-loyalists" [Baer 86-87]. "Interestingly, Paine's person seldom appears in the early cartoons of 1791, though many depict Rights of Man. Paine made such an abrupt entrance onto the British political scene that he was not yet a recognizable figure to caricature. More often, however, Paine is present in cartoons through the placement of his text, which is a central weapon in the arsenal of the English Jacobins." [Grogan, Claire: RIGHTS OF MAN, THOMAS PAINE. Broadview Press: 2011, pp. 37-38.]
Gimbel 237 [Gimbel's THOMAS PAINE FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM IN THREE WORLDS. THE NEW, THE OLD, THE NEXT. CATALOGUE OF AN EXHIBITION YALE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, OCTOBER 1959. p. 466]. See also the copy at the American Philosophical Society. Item #35204

Price: $1,500.00

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