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A Peep into Friar Bacon’s Study, 1784

Like most prints, this caricature of George III was available in coloured and uncoloured impressions. The King is shown as the Franciscan friar and scientist Roger Bacon (c.1214–92?), who was popularly believed to have constructed a brass head to predict the future. Here, Rowlandson uses Bacon’s story to refer to George III’s attempts to manipulate Parliament in 1784. Above the King’s head are three discs which show different distributions of power. The King indicates that he wishes a return to a system in which the monarchy is predominant. The Whig politician Charles James Fox and his allies look on, warning ‘Beware’. Purchased by George IV when Prince of Wales, 1790 Cat. 5