Pacific overtures – or – a flight from St Cloud's "Over the Water to Charley." A new dramatic peace now rehearsing

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Pacific overtures - or - a flight from St Cloud's "Over the Water to Charley." A new dramatic peace now rehearsing. The stage, flanked by the stage-boxes, extends across the design, the base of which is the orchestra, where the new Ministry perform. George III has stepped on to the stage from the royal box (l.) and confronts Napoleon, who stands arrogantly upon clouds and points to an enormous scroll held up by Talleyrand. This stretches across the cloud to rest on the stage. The Emperor, in uniform, with spurred jackboots and wearing a large, feathered bicorne, holds a sword in his right hand. The King, who wears uniform with a small cocked hat and buckled shoes, holds his sword against his shoulder. He inspects the scroll through his glass. Talleyrand kneels on one knee, displaying a deformed l. leg, on a cornucopia which rests on the clouds that support Napoleon. He wears a long gown with a rosary (denoting the ex-Bishop of Autun); a pen is behind his ear. From the cornucopia papers, money-bags, and coin pour down on to the stage. Immediately behind Talleyrand, and also on the Napoleonic clouds crouch Arthur O'Connor, looking down conspiratorially at Fox in the orchestra below. His words extend in a long label towards Fox. He holds a paper. Behind Talleyrand and O'Connor three desiccated corpses wearing French Grenadier's uniform hold up three eagles to each of which a banner is attached. Their caps are decorated with an 'N' surmounted by a crown. Behind them bayonets recede in perspective, their holders hidden by the peace scroll. Most of the orchestra sit facing each other at a long desk whose slopes hold their music. At its head (l.) sits Grenville, the First Violin. In his pocket is a paper. Facing him at the opposite end sits Moira, very erect, blowing a trumpet. Four performers sit on each side; nearest the stage and on Grenville's l., sit (l. to r.) Fox, with a violin, pausing with extended bow to look up at O'Connor. Next him is Lord Spencer, playing a violin, but without music. Windham is also playing a violin. Next, and on Moira's r., Sheridan, fat and bloated, sleeps with folded arms, clasping a bassoon. The others, facing the stage, turn their heads in profile. Little Lord Henry Petty, on Grenville's r., wearing his Chancellor's gown, plays the triangle. Next Sidmouth performs on a clyster-pipe. Lauderdale blows the French horn. Tierney, self-absorbed, plays two pipes. The rest of the orchestra are on the left, behind Grenville's back. On the extreme left, Erskine, the egotist, full face, regardless of the others, beats a drum with the mace. Lord Ellenborough stands as if conducting, holding up a rolled document [the Bill for giving indemnity to witnesses against Melville, it was opposed by Ellenborough]. Bedford plays the harp. Grey, hanging over the back of Grenville's chair, plays the cello. The royal box is sumptuously draped, and surmounted with a crown and crossed sceptres. Behind his empty chair is the pompously projecting stomach with Garter ribbon, and hand holding the wand of the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Dartmouth. On the front of the box lies an open book. Next the box and immediately behind the King is a lifelike statue of Pitt, wearing (like Petty) the gown of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. One hand rests on a pillar. The high pedestal is inscribed 'Non sibi sed Patriae vixit' [the motto on the badges of the Pitt Clubs which came into existence on Pitt's death]. Beside the King is an anchor and rope. At the back of the stage, behind the King, is the sea with a man-of-war in full sail. On the r. are four stage-boxes. On the level of the stage the Prince and Mrs. Fitzherbert sit gazing at each other. He holds his cocked hat, she has a fan with the Prince's feathers and holds a playbill. In the box immediately above are Horne Tooke (in clerical dress) and his friend Burdett, holding up his cocked hat. Both applaud vigorously as they look towards Talleyrand and Napoleon. Over this box are the Prince's feathers. Next it, and above the door leading to the stage, is a small box from which Grattan leans delightedly. Above Grattan, in a small box at the upper edge of the design, are the Duke of Clarence and Mrs. Jordan, both grossly caricatured (BM). Artist: Gillray, James, 1756-1815. Date: April 5, 1806. Sourced from Digital Commonwealth website.

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