A triumphant American slave woman representing quassia (ingredient in acoholic drinks) is carried aloft by two brewers; representing the outcry against a tax on private brewing (?). Etching by J. Gillray, 1806.
- Gillray, James, 1756-1815.
- 10 June 1806
About this picture
The triumphal procession of a tipsy black woman representing quassia, a substance obtained from the quassia tree, found in the Americas and the Caribbean, which is supposed to have supplanted hops in brewing. She sits astride a drayman's pole from which is suspended horizontally a cask inscribed 'True quassia free from taxation'. The pole is supported on the shoulders of two brewers, the City alderman Harvey Christian Combe, Lord Combe (left) and Samuel Whitbread II (right). She holds up in one hand a branch of quassia, with a scroll inscribed 'Kill-Devil [rum] for ever', and in the other a frothing tankard inscribed 'Quossia'. This is irradiated, the rays being inscribed 'Apoplexy', 'Palsy', 'Consumption', 'Debility', 'Colic', 'Stupor', 'Dropsy', 'Scurvy', 'Dysentery', 'Hæmorrhoids', 'Hydrophobia', 'Idiotism', presumably conditions supposed to be cured by quassia A corpulent third brewer, identified in the British Museum catalogue as George Barclay (circa 1759-1819), follows on the extreme left., waving his hat. He holds up a standard: 'Pro bono publico - Quassia for ever, - No hops! no malt! Down with all the private breweries! - Kill-Devil and Quassia for ever!' From his apron projects a book: 'Receipts to make a cauliflour head' In front of the procession is a dray-horse, with dangling chains which show that the barrel has been detached from them; its head is cut off by the right margin. On its back sits three politicians: the Prime Minister Lord Grenville between Charles James Fox (front, shown shortly before his death) and the young Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, chancellor of the exchequer and later 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (rear). All are in court dress, and exultingly wave their cocked hats, which, like the hats of the brewers, are decorated with large favours inscribed 'Quassia for ever'. On the horse is a pannier with a label: 'Grains from the quassia breweries for the New Piggery'; this, like the riders' pockets, is overflowing with guineas; the "piggery" is the enjoyment of paid posts provided by the Government to its supporters. From Petty's hat fall two bundles of papers: 'Tax upon private brewer[ies]' and 'Tax upon maid-servants'. Whitbread, who looks round at the spectator, has a favour in his hat larger than the others and having the additional inscription. 'No private breweries - impeachment of malt & hops! No Scotch barley'. 'Scotch barley' is a reference to Whitbread's role in the impeachment of the Scot Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, though it seems irrelevant to quassia On the ground, broken hop-poles with hops still attached to them are being trampled under foot, representing the supposed obsolescence of hops. Behind are conical stacks of hop-poles 'To be sold for fire-wood'
[London] (St James's Street) : H. Humphrey, 10 June 1806.
1 print : etching ; platemark 30.3 x 38.7 cm
The triumph of quassia, Js. Gillray, des & ft.
- Women, Black.
- Drinking vessels.
- Brewing industry.
- Alcohol |Law and legislation.
- Alcoholic beverage industry.
- Barclay, George, approximately 1759-1819
- Fox, Charles James, 1749-1806.
- Grenville, William Wyndham Grenville, Baron, 1759-1834.
- Lansdowne, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marquess of, 1780-1863.
Where to find it
You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0