Burdett, Peel, O'Connell and Wellington in the roles of the body-snatchers Burke and Hare, suffocating John Bull with …

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Burdett, Peel, O'Connell and Wellington in the roles of the body-snatchers Burke and Hare, suffocating John Bull with a rope; representing the extinguishing by Wellington and Peel of the constitution of 1688 by Catholic Emancipation. Coloured etching by A Sharpshooter, 1829. John Bull lies on the floor being suffocated by four politicians in favour of Catholic Emancipation: Sir Francis Burdett, Robert Peel, Daniel O'Connell and the Duke of Wellington. In the background, behind a dissecting table, stand four anatomists represented by the Catholic kings of Spain (left) and France, the Pope and the devil: the devil whispers in the Pope's ear. Far left, the King (George IV) is gagged by Lady Conyngham, a confidante of the King's reputed to be in favour of Catholic Emancipation. Right, Britannia is gagged with a plaster and is restrained at the elbows; she sits on the British lion which is also muzzled with a plaster. Suffocation with a pitch plaster was reputed to be one of the methods of murder used by bodysnatchers (see the caricature "Present mode of applying a pitch plaister!!" by Dickey Fubs, Wellcome Library catalogue no. 663319i). Created April 1829. John Bull (Symbolic character). Britannia (Symbolic character). Body snatching. Plaster (Pharmacy). Murderers. Human beings – Constitution. Asphyxia. Devil. Popes. Costume – Great Britain (- 19th century). Great Britain. Francis Burdett (1770–1844). Robert Peel (1788–1850). Daniel O'Connell (1775–1847). Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769–1852). George IV, King of Great Britain (1762–1830). Elizabeth Conyngham Conyngham, Marchioness (-1861). William Burke (1792–1829). William Hare (1792?-1870?). Contributors: A Sharpshooter. Work ID: vnxqvfnb.

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