a satire to ridicule the Convention of Delegates from the Societies of the Friends of the People throughout Scotland, a society that caused some concern in Pitt’s government about the attitude in Scotland to the French revolution. It had gathered in December, 1792, the date this print was originally issued as a separate accompaniment to a locally published chap-book called ‘The Rights of Asses’. From the posthumously published ‘A Series of Original Portraits and Caricature Etchings by the Late John Kay, Miniature Painter, Edinburgh’.
John Kay (1742-1826) was born in Dalkeith where he became apprenticed to a barber at the age of 13. He moved to Edinburgh as a young man in the 1760s, still plying his trade as a member of the corporation of barber-surgeons. But, in 1784, he produced his first etching and was soon encouraged to convert his premises to a print shop, such was the popularity of his caricatures and portraits of local characters and figures of the day. The first published collection, gathered together by the Edinburgh publisher, Hugh Paton, didn’t appear until over a decade after Kay’s death, in 1838, with subsequent re-issues in 1842 and 1877, before the printing plates were formally destroyed,
hand-coloured engraving on wove paper, 125 x 90 mm. (5 x 3 1/2 in), signed with initials and dated 1792 in the plate, [BM Satires 8151],