Britannia as a patient who is in danger of death owing to disagreement between her three doctors over their competing remedies; representing the weakness of Britain during the replacement of Addington by Pitt as Prime Minister and the exclusion of Fox. Coloured etching by J. Gillray, 1804.

  • Gillray, James, 1756-1815.
20 May 1804
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The doctors are represented by prominent politicians. On the left Henry Addington is being kicked out of the patient's bedroom, dropping a bottle labelled "Composing draft". William Pitt the younger, who is booting him out, holds up a medicine bottle labelled "Constitutional restorative", and has his foot in the mouth of Charles James Fox. Pitt also has a bundle of pamphlets in his back pocket, one of which is entitled: "Art of restoring health". Fox, sprawled on the floor, is holding up a bottle labelled "Republican balsam" while in the other hand he has a bonnet rouge; from his pocket, dice and a container inscribed "Whig pills" have fallen. Britannia is approached on the right by a skeletal death-figure with the head of Napoleon, who knocks over the medicines and prescriptions on the patient's bedside table


[London] (27 St. James's Street) : H. Humphrey, 20 May 1804.

Physical description

1 print : etching, with watercolour ; platemark 25.4 x 37.4 cm


Britannia between death and the doctor's. - "Death may decide, when doctor's disagree." Js. Gillray inv. et fec.

References note

British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. VIII, London 1947, no. 10244


Wellcome Collection 12194i



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