Now to the Drama turn - Oh! motley sight!


John Milton and Ruth Neils Ward Collection, 1998 – bTS 319.99

Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827). Iohn Bull – Settling the Opera Disputes (London, 1808).

Angelica Catalani was the most celebrated Italian soprano of her day. In this satirical print by Rowlandson, John Bull mediates a dispute between the two proprietors of the King’s Theatre, William Taylor (depicted as a tailor) and Edmund Waters (knee-deep in the English Channel), while the feline Catalani absconds to Paris with two sacks of their money. Catalani defended her conduct in a letter to the editor of the Times, which had itself adopted a patriotic stance against her: “We have always viewed with regret, in the present distressed state of the country, the sums of money which are likely to be taken out of it by these rapacious foreigners.”