Irish Georgian Satirical Print Brewers Entire Saloon Brookes


Artist: William Henry Brooke (1772-1860) Alias: W.H.Ekoorbe
Title: The Brewers Entire Saloon (A birds-eye view)
Medium: Hand Coloured Etching
Date: 1st January 1813 (Published in the Satirist Magazine)

The etching depicts a scene the ‘grand saloon’ of the new Dury lane Theatre. The floor is almost wholly occupied with beds, where courtesans and gentleman recline. A statue of Apollo playing a lyre is in the centre of the room; the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, dressed as a Harlequin, leans against it. He brandishes a sword in the direction of the Whig leader, Samuel Whitbread (1764–1815), who is accompanied by a troupe of women in the foreground. Behind him, Lord John Townsend (another Whig) repels a group of men who are trying to get to Whitbread.

The finer points of the etching have been lost with time, though it seems to be railing against the Whig Party, who despite championing the rights of religious minorities and the abolitionist cause, became highly unpopular for their open admiration of Napoleon. In the case of Whitbread such enthusiasm meant that during the Peninsular War, he played down the French defeats, in the firm conviction that Napoleon would eventually win. After Napoleon’s abdication in 1814, he began to suffer from depression, committing suicide the next year.

William Henry Brooke (1772-1860) was an Irish portrait painter and draughtsman, who began life as a banker's clerk. As it became clearer that he preferred to paint, he joined the studio of Henry Drummond, making quick progress. Not long after he established himself as a portrait artist in Duke Street, exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1810. In 1812 Brooke began contributing drawings to 'The Satirist'. He left in September 1813 and was replaced by a young George Cruikshank.

The condition of the etching is generally good, with the colours retaining their vibrancy. There is some wear around the margins.

Size: 37 x 21.4cm