The Departure


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"The Departure," colored etching, 1784. A satire on the Whig politician Charles James Fox, who had to retire from the fray momentarily until he could claim the Parliamentary seat for Westminster. Proverbially, he was sent to Coventry. Here he is bidding farewell to his supporters, the Duchess of Devonshire and Lady Duncannon, while his ally Edmund Burke stands ready to perform the role of postilion and his patron, the Prince of Wales, looks down on this tender scene from a palace window. Cartoonists usually depict the spoken word with a conversation balloon, almost the trademark of present-day comic strips. In this example, Rowlandson has his characters speak in rhyme, with balloons indication where the words belong.