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The Ballance of Power
1781.. Engraving, handcolored, image 8 3/4 x 13 inches on sheet size 9 5/8 x 13 1/4 inches. Tight margins, mended 1/4 inch tear to right upper edge, light soiling to corners, main image clean and bright with very faint foxing barely visible, soft crease to upper right corner, . Artist initials: R.S. The print appears to have been trimmed at the bottom. Information on a copy of the print available in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society states at bottom: "London: Published as ye Act directs, Jany 17 1781 by R. Wilkinson, at No. 58 in Cornhill." Robert Wilkinson was active between circa 1780 and 1820, hence this would be one of his earliest engravings. The delicately colored print depicts Britannia positioned defiantly at the weighty end of a scale holding the Sword of Justice. In a speech bubble she states: "No one injures me with impunity." Lifted aloft on the lighter end of the scale are three opportunists: a Frenchman, Spaniard, and Dutchman crowding about a collapsed Native American woman, representing America. In a speech bubble America states: "My ingratitude is justly punished." Printed below the image is a verse that reads in part: America dup'd by a treacherous train, Now finds she's a Tool both to France and to Spain, Yet all three united can't weight down the Scale. So the Dutchman jumps in with the hope to prevail. Yet Britain will boldly their efforts withstand, and bravely defy them by Sea and by Land...etc. The piece is an excellent example from the genre of political/satirical printmaking flourishing in the late 18th century. .
      [Bookseller: oldimprints.com]
Last Found On: 2018-02-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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