WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Belly

Food is the theme for September. I probably should have waited until November or December, but by that time, it will be all things harvest, and kissing boughs and sleighs. Better to get in the nibbles now.

John Bull taking a Luncheon; -or- British Cooks, cramming Old Grumble-Gizzard, with Bonne-Chere by James Gillray, 24 October 1798, National Maritime Museum.

And, of course, the political satire of James Gillray.

Belly

His eye was bigger than his belly; a saying of a person at a table, who takes more on his plate than he can eat.

Substitutes for Bread; -or- Right Honorables Saving the Loaves & Dividng the Fishes by James Gillray, 1795, British Museum. Right underneath the title, it reads ‘To the Charitable Committee, for reducing the high price of Corn, by providing Substitutes for Bread in their own Families, this representation of the Hard Shifts made by the Framers & Signers of the Philanthropic Agreement, is most respectfully dedicated.’ 24 December 1795.’

From the British Museum description:

Ministers sit at a round dinner-table guzzling guineas, while through the window is seen a hungry mob. Pitt, in profile to the left, sits on the right, a large fish made of guineas on a dish before him, of which he shovels huge lumps into his gaping mouth; he sits on a ‘Treasury’ chest which is closed by a padlock inscribed ‘WP’. Opposite him on the extreme left, seated on the woolsack, is Loughborough, indicated by an elongated Chancellor’s wig in back view; he clutches a large bowl of ‘Royal Turtle Soup’, holding a large ladle-full of guineas to his mouth. The others sit on the farther side of the table: Grenville, next Loughborough, Dundas in the middle, Pepper Arden next, Pitt. Grenville stoops, putting his mouth on the level of his dishful of guineas. Dundas, wearing a plaid, gnaws a fish which he holds in both hands. Arden, between Pitt and Dundas, holds a lump of coins on his fork. Between him and Dundas are three bottles labelled ‘Bur[gundy]’, ‘Champaign’, ‘Port’. On the table are sauce-boats and small dishes full of guineas. Before Dundas are two glasses of wine.

At the near side of the table, between Loughborough and Pitt, is a group of three sacks on each side of which is a large wine-cooler filled with bottles. The central sack is: ‘Product of New Taxes upon John Bulls Property’. On its mouth rests a small basket of potatoes inscribed ‘Potatoe Bread to be given in Charity’. The other sacks are labelled ‘Secret Service Money’. Behind (right), three steaming dishes are being brought in, held high by footmen (their heads obscured): a haunch of venison, a sirloin, and a large bird. They wear, not livery, but the Windsor uniform, and the symmetrical pair immediately behind Pitt are probably the two Treasury Secretaries, Rose and Long; this is supported by Gillray’s ‘Lilliputian Substitutes’ (1801). On the wall are two placards: ‘Proclamation for a General Fast, in order to avert the impending Famine and Substitutes for Bread Venison, Roast Beef, Poultry, Turtle Soup, Fish, boild in Wine, Ragouts, Jellies &c. Burgundy, Champaign, Tokay, &c, &c.’ The heads of men wearing bonnets-rouges are seen through the window; they hold up a loaf on a pole with a scroll inscribed ’14 Pence pr Quartern’ and two placards: ‘Petition from the Starving Swine’ and ‘Grant us the Crumbs which drop from your Table’.

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

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