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Political Hobbys, 1819

Two anonymous cartoons published by the Cheapside bookseller Thomas Tegg in 1819.

The first is split into two panels. On the left a debauched Prince Regent is shown riding a startled kitchen servant, whilst his estranged wife Caroline of Brunswick looks on in the doorway (a reference to his regular mistress Lady Hertford is included in the speech bubble); the cartoon also references the Prince Regent's lavish expenditure in Brighton and his bribing of cartoonists to not caricature him. In the panel on the right, the Prince Regent's father King George III is shown sitting on a new ‘hobby’ (an early bicycle) cushioned by £10,000 a year, whilst in the background an ordinary Briton stands beside his starving family outside their hovel and condemns the huge social inequality (quoting Hamlet).

The second shows the Chancellor of the Exchequer Nicholas Vansittart, on the road to ruin, running John Bull down on a 'hobby' in the shape of a money bag (marked with references to new taxes and establishment corruption). In the background, under a signpost pointing to 'America' or 'starvation', people flee to an anchored ship. In the speech bubble, the Chancellor suggests that poor Britons should leave the country - either through voluntary emigration to America or through a criminal sentence of transportation - probably for theft - to Australia (Botany Bay).

These, and three other prints by Tegg featuring 'hobbys', are included in the Cyclists' Touring Club archive (document reference: MSS.328/C/June 2007/Box 26).

Royal Hobby

The Chancellors Hobby