This illustration shows John Waller on the pillory, being pelted by the crowd.
John Waller was a highwayman. At this time highwaymen were a great menace to travellers on Britain's roads and penalties against them were severe. Waller was convicted of perjury. He gave false evidence against the innocent, causing them to be blamed for his own crimes.
The pillory was a wooden frame with holes cut into it, into which a prisoner's head and hands were inserted and locked, exposing them to the scorn and violence of the crowd. Pillories were set up in public spaces, often accompanied by a placard detailing the prisoner's crime. The use of the pillory signalled a serious crime, and would produce a suitably angry response from the crowd.