The Jew as Other: A Century of English Caricatures 1730-1830

Money Lenders

Thomas Rowlandson
(London), November 8, 1784
Published by W. Humphrey, No. 227 Strand,
Etching, hand-colored with watercolor
[25.3 x 32.7 cm]

A well dressed young man in riding attire negotiates a loan at a coffee-table with two elderly Jewish money-lenders. The star on his riding coat and the garter on his leg make it clear that the young man is the Prince of Wales (the future George IV) who amassed huge debts to the considerable disquietude of his father. Because it was popularly imagined that much of the British aristocracy was heavily in debt to the Jews (see no. 5), it was but a short leap to involve the royal family. Here, the Prince has nonchalantly handed a sealed title-deed to the money-lenders who are closely perusing its clauses. Significantly, this is the earliest of many caricatures that take up the theme of the Prince's debts.