Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Sir Francis Burdett holds up a bonnet rouge shaped like a fool's cap as he and Samuel Whitbread encourages those who are making a bonfire of statutes on the cobbles of Palace Yard; Westminster Hall is stoned and demolished by the mob beyond. Etching by J. Gillray.

  • Gillray, James, 1756-1815
  • Pictures

About this work


On the public meeting held in Westminster Hall on 29 March 1809 which discussed the conduct of the Duke of York, who was accused of permitting his mistress to sell army commissions. Burdett and Samuel Whitbread (who led the radical Whigs and, as a brewer, is dressed as a drayman holding a beer barrel on his shoulder) were the only two members of Parliament present and urged immediate Parliamentary reform. Among the statutes being thrown on the bonfire are the 'Bill of rights', the 'Magna charta', 'Habeas corpus' etc. On the extreme left is Colonel Wardle, the chief accuser of the Duke of York. On the right, the Whig leader William Wyndham Grenville, Baron Grenville, displays his "disproportionately prominent ... posterior" (Oxford dictionary of national biography)


[London] : [Thomas McLean], [1830]

Physical description

1 print : etching ; image 15.7 x 21.3 cm


True reform of parliament, i.e. - patriots lighting a revolutionary bonfire in New Palace Yard -

References note

British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. vii., London 1942, no. 8286


Wellcome Library no. 585521i



  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

Permanent link