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An industrial mill representing the 'Penny magazine': Lord John Russell and Bishop Maltby feed it with liberalism and whiggism, Lord Brougham and Lord Spencer turn the crank handles, and Charles Knight feeds the resulting product to John Bull. Lithograph by R. Seymour, 1832.

  • Seymour, Robert, 1798-1836.
1 Oct 1832
  • Pictures

About this work


The hopper or receptacle on the top of the mill is heaped with froth and is decorated with the Royal Arms. Into this Lord John Russell, standing on a ladder, empties a tankard of 'Whig Liberalism', while Edward Maltby, bishop of Chichester and a committee member of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, empties a bottle labelled 'Whig theology from Chichester'. Russell says 'A small quantity of this will do, and dont you put too much of that', and Maltby replies 'Never fear my piety, It will not quarrel with your philosophy'. Behind Russell on the left is a large round 'Mashing vat' (left) in which the contents of the 'Penny magazine' are being prepared. The rim is inscribed 'Wonderous condescension & affability'; in it chunks of wood inscribed 'Wood block' and 'Illustrative wood block' are floating, representing wood engravings. The mixture is being stirred by Thomas Denman, Attorney-general and soon to be Lord Chief Justice (from 9 November 1832), who turns to the right to shout 'Send out the Police, and see no other unstamp'd things are selling'. From the left margin project the horns and talons of the Devil, peppering the frothing vat from a pot labelled 'A small seasoning of infidelity'. Behind is Charles Knight, the publisher of The penny magazine, with ass's ears, cutting a newspaper with a big pair of shears; this is 'The cutting room with an A.S.S. at work'

A tube leading from the mill towards the right, labelled 'The Penny extractor', connects the back of the mill with the coat-pocket of John Bull who leans back in his chair, convulsively extending his fingers over his pocket, while Knight (appearing a second time) stands over him, holding a large funnel in his victim's mouth, into which he rams paper with a stick, saying, 'Never mind your pockets, Mr Bull but take this. I am its publisher, and know it to be good for a be-Knighted generation'. Behind them is a policeman (acting on instructions from Denman) who menaces with his baton an emaciated, ragged, and terrified newspaper hawker

The product of the mill also pours out from two wide spouts or pipes at the front; one (left) is 'The proprietor's pipe'. From this a circular reservoir sunk in the floor is filled with 'Pennies'. From the other (right), 'The public's pipe', a corresponding reservoir, 'The Pall Mall Reservoir', is filled with papers inscribed 'Twaddle', suggesting that the proprietor (Charles Knight) profits by selling "twaddle" to the public from his Pall Mall East office in London


London (26 Haymarket) : Thos. McLean 1832, 1 Oct 1832.

Physical description

1 print : lithograph ; image 24.1 x 33 cm


Patent penny knowledge mill. To Messrs Knight, Brougham & Co. this representation of their prosperous manufactory is respectfully dedicated by their obedient humble servant, the artist.


With: Wellcome library catalogue, nos 608215i, 608219i, 608220i, 608222i (on verso of sheet)

References note

British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. XI, London 1954, no. 17267

Lettering note

Extensive lettering


Wellcome Library no. 608228i


  • English

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