In August of 1837 the pseudonymous ‘Timothy Wasp Esq’ created the wonderful etching ‘The Queen Bee in her Hive!!!’ (Figure 1) to commemorate Queen Victoria’s recent coronation. Wasp’s cartoon employs the internal structure of a traditional skep beehive to present the viewer with a hierarchical image of the division of labour and distribution of wealth in British society. The newly crowned ‘queen’ and her royal ‘drones’ are comfortably positioned at the top of the hive, ‘sucking away’ in their spacious cells, while at the bottom of the hive a much more populous swarm of ‘humming’, ‘humble’, and ‘common working bees’ subsist in smoke-clouds and toil in constricted cells. Wasp appears to be something of an entomologist, because our cartoonist astutely notes that the working bees differ in resemblance from the queen and drones in their almost ‘incessant labour’, and from the centre of the hive a banner unfurls to display an inscription from the Comte De Buffon’s Natural History. Referring to the drones of the hive, it states: While their presence is thus necessary to the QEEN [sic] they are suffered to enjoy all the sweets of life & love—but when they become useless in theHIVE—the common bees often declare a war of extermination against them1 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide ‘The Queen Bee in her Hive!!!’ by Timothy Wasp and Published by G. S. Tregear 29 August 1837. Courtesy of the British Museum (availiable for use under the Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0))). <http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3312478&partId=1> accessed 3 April 2018. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide ‘The Queen Bee in her Hive!!!’ by Timothy Wasp and Published by G. S. Tregear 29 August 1837. Courtesy of the British Museum (availiable for use under the Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0))). <http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3312478&partId=1> accessed 3 April 2018. The British Museum currently note that this etching is in the manner of George Cruikshank, perhaps referring to his well-known ‘British Beehive’ illustration of 1840/67; however, could not this illustration have been done by William Heath, an artist best remembered for his ‘Monster Soup’ (1828) illustration of the microscopic monsters living in the drinking water of the Thames? Wasp’s illustration shares a number of distinct similarities with Heath’s cartoons. It is akin to Heath’s work in general outline, through its use of borders, text, allusion to songs and poems, in the underlining of words and in the tripple ‘!!!’, but the H in ‘hive’, the ‘Ss’ in ‘neceSsary’ and ‘useleSs’ in the center of the image are unique to Heath’s handwriting. The T in ‘Timothy’ and the ‘W’ in ‘Wasp’, the g in ‘Tregear’, along the distinct style of handwritting in the side panel beginning ‘Neither the Queen …’ resemble his handwriting closely Moreover, Heath was known to have been creating artwork for G. S Tregear from 1834 onwards, and he did not care for spelling too much. The image is also not politically in the manner of Cruikshank, as Pattern notes Cruikshank was an anti-Radical cartoonist.2 Footnotes 1 Wasp takes this passage from J. W.’s Buffon’s Natural History of The Globe and of Man: Beast, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles and Insects (London: 1831), 244. 2 R. L. Pattern, ‘George’s Hive and the Georgin Hinge’, VLC Spring (1986), 37–69. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Notes and Queries – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 17, 2018
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