The Triumph of Quassia

The Triumph of Quassia by James Gillray (1756-1815). Hand-coloured etching, published 10 June 1806 by Hannah Humphrey. 9 ⅝ x 13 ¾ inches (246 mm x 347 mm) plate size; 10 ¼ x 14 ⅜ inches (260 mm x 365 mm) paper size. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London NPG D12868. Purchased, 1947. Click on image to enlarge it

This racist print obviously attacks William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, who served as Prime Minister from 11 February 1806 to 25 March 1807, for his sympathy with the anti-slavery movement, but its main target seems to be quassia, a tropic plant used as a digestive, that in some way competes with British beer while not paying taxes. Gillray depicts Grenville riding a horse sandwiched between two men as all three wave tricorn hats with plumes while from one of them falls a bills proposing tax on chambermaids. While the grotesquely obese Quassia rides on a barrel carried byy two men, another obese man follows holding a standard that proclaims “Quassia for Ever. No Hops! no Malt! Down with all the Private Breweries — Kill Devil and Quassia for Ever!” — George P. Landow

Related Material including more Gillray Caricatures of Grenville’s Government

Last modified 25 June 2020