Tentand via est qua me quoque possim tollere humo

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Tentand via est qua me quoque possim tollere humo. A fantastic scene in Oxford representing Grenville's installation as Chancellor, which took place at Commemoration, 3 July 1810. Grenville rises in a balloon above a vast applauding crowd; his inflated and spherical posterior fits into the shallow bowl which forms the car. He wears a papal tiara and his Chancellor's gown; a large cross is on his posterior. He extends his arms horizontally, scattering symbolical objects. These are (left): a Cardinal's hat, a rosary, a mitre set in a ducal coronet, and books. The spherical gas-bag of the balloon represents an inflated Lord Temple, the crown of the head at the summit, with upturned profile in the arc just below (left). Shoes emerge from the opposite pole. From the posterior issues a tail or cloud, streaming upward. The car, decorated with Popish emblems, the Host between winged heads, hangs from cords suspended from a net covering the balloon. Three bishops, seated on asses which crouch in neighing obeisance towards Grenville, reach up eagerly towards the Cardinal's hat, &c. They are in back view, and in the foreground on the extreme left. Behind them is part of the Radcliffe Camera, the greater part being cut off by the left margin. By the door is a placard. Two men are leaving the building: Lord George Granville, followed by (?) Thomas Grenville. The Marquis of Buckingham looks from the principal window under the dome; Lord Stafford leans from a smaller window below. All four wear bag-wigs and gowns. On a projection above the door stands a chicken with the head of M. A. Taylor puffing a blast up at the balloon. Spectacled and bewigged owls perch on the balustrade surrounding the dome. In the foreground on the right is a large group, many of whom wear doctor's gowns with black masks over their features, tied over bag-wigs that perch awkwardly on their heads. Three of them wave their mortar-board caps towards the balloon: Erskine, Tierney (without a mask and especially deferential), and Lord Holland, his face completely blackened by a mask and wearing a mob-cap. Behind (right) are Lord Grey, Sidmouth holding a clyster-pipe behind his back, Lord Cholmondeley, whose wig is back to front and tilted tipsily over one eye, and Whitbread, who clutches his mortarboard in both hands. In front, little Lord Lansdowne capers, holding up the brush and shovel of a chimney-sweep. Next to him, but walking off to the right, is Sheridan, who, unlike the others, does not wear a gown and bag-wig, but is naked except for tattered Harlequin trousers, shoes, and ruffles fastened round his wrists to indicate genteel poverty; he clutches his head with a despairing gesture. In the foreground on the extreme right, Dr. Crowe, the Public Orator, sits on the ground, leaning against a milestone with closed eyes and a contented smile. Beside him, an overturned tankard and papers that a dog is befouling. The middle distance is filled with a dense crowd of spectators, receding into a sea of heads. Those in front are doctors in red gowns bowing low as Grenville ascends. In front of the crowd, Sir W. W. Wynn and his two brothers (Grenville's nephews), sit together in a little chaise drawn by three galloping Welsh goats. They wear bag-wigs and gowns and raise their caps to Grenville. One of the goats gallops over a prostrate man in doctor's wig and gown. A bishop (the Archbishop of York) drives through the crowd (left to right) in an open barouche. He doffs his mitre. The coachman and three fat footmen standing behind wave their cocked hats. The crowd surrounds a wooden booth (left) and a high wagon which serves as platform for a rustic family group to view the display. The booth is placarded and, inside it, tiny figures peer at the posterior of a vast elephant with little wings and the head of Grenville. The background is a fantastic view of Oxford towers, which resembles, and is perhaps based on, a drawing by Rowlandson. The crowd fills a space between the Radcliffe Camera and the wall of All Souls abutting (right) on the west end of the Chapel. Behind (left) is the cupola over the gate of All Souls with (right) Hawkesmoor's twin towers flanking a 'Popish' cross. Tom Tower, Christ Church, much heightened and enlarged (right), behind the chapel, flies a Popish flag decorated with tiara and keys, and is traversed from top to bottom by a great fissure. Bats and carrion birds fly round it (BM). Artist: Gillray, James, 1756-1815. Date: August 1810. Sourced from Digital Commonwealth website.

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