• icarus01

The Fall of Temple: or Gillray’s Icarus

1807

“Stake out of Public Hedge”

icarus02

Temple as a boy

Laugh at Earl Temple (the exceptionally wealthy Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville), the collapse of whose political career in March 1807 is likened in this cartoon by James Gillray to the Fall of Icarus. Gillray, who knew that his Icarus owned a plantation in Jamaica, depicts Temple (1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1776-1839) with manufactured wings trying to fly after his father, Buckingham (George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham, 1753-1813), whose wings are labelled ‘Tellership of the Exchequer’ (the position he held in the government).

icarus04Above plumes of smoke from a workhouse, the head of George III superimposed on the sun surveys the scene. Unlike his father, who is hidden from the King’s gaze and its tragic heat by a passing cloud, Temple receives the King’s full beam, his wax melts, his wings disintegrate, and he is about to land on a savagely pointed stake labelled ‘Stake out of Public Hedge’.

Discussion

There are no comments yet, would you like to have your say?

Be the first to comment “The Fall of Temple: or Gillray's Icarus”

*