Anonymous. (After Thomas Ovenden)

The End of Pain,


The Last Speech, Dying Words, and Confessions of T.P.
London, , 1794.
a scurrilous caricature of the revolutionary writer and philosopher, Thomas Paine (né Pain, 1737-1809), a separately etched variant of one by Thomas Ovenden which didn’t have accompanying text (BM Satires 8294). It depicts Paine as being hanged from a lamppost, from which is also suspended a coat-of-arms of three corsets and a chevron, a reference to his first career as a stay-maker, bearing the motto ‘Common Sense’, a reference to his pamphlet of 1776 that spurred on the American revolution. The upright post bears the inscription ‘Rights of This Man’, alluding to Paine’s most famous work, ‘The Rights of Man’, in favour of the French Revolution. Peering round the post, gripping onto it with demonic claws, is the horned head of Louis-Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, the wealthy aristocrat turned revolutionary who changed his name to Philippe Égalité, and is referred to in the text here as ‘Mr Equality’. The two paragraphs of text below this image lay out in disparaging terms a very brief summary of Paine’s life and career, his marital betrayal, running away to America where he inflamed the people against his native land, how he hired himself to the French, taking refuge in Paris before insulting them by claiming roast beef and plum pudding to be better than “soup meagre and fried frogs”, for which this execution scene was deemed the fitting punishment. In fact, Paine had come close to execution in 1893, but for arguing against guillotining of King Louis XVI, for which he was imprisoned. He eventually returned to America, in 1802, where he died in relative obscurity a few years later.
This copy carries the date of 1794, the year he spent in prison and completed ‘The Age of Reason’. The pencil note in the lower margin states “This is said to contain a strong likeness of Paine and is not a print to be (?bought)”,.

SKU: 1771 Category: Tags: , , ,