In honour of the current lovely weather I thought I’d share this fantastic image with you:
This anonymous caricature pokes fun at Sir Joseph Banks and his penchant for collecting. It was published in 1788 in a pseudonymous volume by contemporary satirist John Wolcot: “Sir Joseph Banks and the Emperor of Morocco. A Tale. By Peter Pindar, Esquire.”
The tale takes the form of a 17-page poem, which I won’t reproduce here, but I would recommend seeking it out. To whet your appetite, here is the second half of the poem’s prefatory argument, which sets the scene for the verse that follows:
“Sir Joseph, in a Pointer-like Manner, ambulateth – he espieth the Emperor of Morocco [a fictitious species of butterfly] – Peter conjectureth as to Sir Joseph’s Joy on the occasion – … – Sir Joseph’s Pursuit – the President tumbleth – … – Sir Joseph again tumbleth – Sir Joseph’s Hat tumbleth with him – Sir Joseph riseth and bloweth – he is gazed at by a Countryman – he darteth through a Hedge in Pursuit of the Emperor, and tumbleth into a Lane – he getteth up speedily, and putteth a Question to Hob – Hob answereth not, but pitieth him – Sir Joseph obtaineth a second View of the Emperor – pursueth his Majesty into a Garden – oversetteth the Gardener – trampleth on rare flowers – breaketh many Bell Glasses – overturneth the Scarecrow – Peter praiseth the Scarecrow – Sir Joseph oversetteth a hive of Bees – the Bees surprized – they attempt a Revenge, but succeed not, on Account of the hard and tough materials of Sir Joseph’s Headpiece – The Gardener, quitting his horizontal Position, pursueth Sir Joseph – Sir Joseph pursueth the Emperor, and the Emperor flieth away – The Gardener collareth Sir Joseph, and expostulateth – Sir Joseph heedeth not the Gardener’s Complaint, being in deep Sorrow for the Loss of the Emperor – The Gardener quitteth his Gripe in Sir Joseph, and putteth him down for a Lunatic – the Gardener execrateth Sir Joseph’s Keeper, and falleth into a Panic – flieth off unceremoniously, and leaveth the President in the Situation of a celebrated prophet.
And, as the closing couplet of the poem states:
“Such is the tale – if readers sigh for more
Sir Joseph’s wallet holdeth many a score.”
You can see more details about this image, and a couple of other (more sedate) garden pictures from our collections in this online gallery. Whatever your preferred outdoor pursuits, I hope you manage to enjoy some time in the sunshine too.