A Greenwich Pensioner!
This caricature shows Richard Lalor Shiel (1791-1851), a Kilkenny-born Irish Catholic, educated at Stonyhurst and Trinity College Dublin, who became a barrister, sometime playwright and MP. In 1838, he was appointed Governor of Greenwich Hospital despite having no naval connections or experience, to which the titular underlining of 'Green' in Greenwich alludes and also the Greenwich Pensioners' exchange on the left: 'I say Jack, what do you make of this strange sail bearing down upon us'. ' Well, they say as he's a spitfire man, but it can't be the man o' war of our time. -From the cut of his gib, I'd take him to belong to one of these new-fangled Steamers or some such small Craft.' The figure on the right is O'Connell, implying his influence in the appointment: 'That little fellow seems to have a snug berth of it here, agad it would be no bad lookout for myself in my old age if the rent should fail.' The Governorship was one of a number of sinecures Shiel enjoyed, the last being as Ambassador in Florence, where he died.
H. B. (John Doyle)
Original size: 275 mm x 346 mm
- Image reference: PY3323
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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