RARE: Hand-Coloured Etching: Gillray's Supplementary-Militia (12734)

  • $85.00


In 1793, when France declared war upon Britain and Holland, the British militia numbered approximately 45,000. But by 1796 when the war was still proceeding and the threat of a French invasion was growing stronger, Pitt introduced a Supplementary Militia Act to add 60,000 more troops to protect the homeland. Each parish provided a ballot to select those who would serve. The troops were given 20 days of training each year to help establish and maintain their fighting skills.

This 'Supplementary-militia, turning-out for twenty-days amusement' by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey, is a hand-coloured etching, published 25 November 1796.

It shows a body of poorly clad artisans and tradesmen, marching in formation with fixed bayonets behind a butcher in over-sleeves, a feathered cocked hat above his butcher's cap, and a military sash over his apron. He carries a banner on which St. George is killing the dragon. His company wear military coats and crossed bandoliers with very unsoldierly foot-gear and the tools of their various trades.

We have studied this picture with magnification, and feel confident in saying it is a hand-coloured etching. You can see the colours have been added after the etching was produced.

This is a wonderful satirical piece of historical artwork. It is in a vintage frame with a glass front. In surprisingly good condition for its age!

Measures 425mm w x 15mm d x 325mm high. See: http://www.james-gillray.org/pop/militia.html