Caricature satirising the 'long-winded speech' of Whig politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1788


This image from the 18th century satirises the parliamentary oratory of MP Richard Brinsley Sheridan, renowned for his long-winded speeches and slavish devotion to Whig politics. Lampoons and caricatures such as this typify the politics of the 18th century, which after the 1770s exploited a freedom of thought and expression rarely seen before. Caricatures were printed by their thousand each year, with all manner of intentions and targets in mind. Some simply offered a wry commentary on fashion or taste, while others directly satirised political leaders and members of the royal family. So worried was George IV with the ability of cartoons to turn public attitudes against him that in 1820 he bribed caricaturist George Cruikshank £100 not to mock him in print.

Full title:
The Long-Winded Speech, or the oratorical organ harmonized with sublime and beautiful inflation
Print / Image
William Dent, J Dickie, William Moore
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Related articles

Popular politics in the 18th century

Article by:
Matthew White

From caricatures capturing public opinion to riots on the streets, in this article Matthew White discusses how the majority of Georgians, who didn’t have the right to vote, engaged in politics and expressed their grievances.

An introduction to 18th-century British theatre

Article by:
Andrew Dickson
Theatre and entertainment

Andrew Dickson charts the growth of 18th-century theatre, looking at the new venues, stage technology, audiences, playwrights and great actors of the age.

Street literature

Article by:
Ruth Richardson
Reading and print culture, Popular culture

From public notes and broadsides to catchpennies and printed songs, Dr Ruth Richardson examines the variety of street literature which informed and entertained the public before newspapers were readily available.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

The School for Scandal

Created by: Richard Brinsley Sheridan

The School for Scandal (1777) overview  The critic and essayist William Hazlitt called Richard Brinsley ...