Dark Lanthern [sic] Business

Thomas Rowlandson, English, 1756 - 1827



Hand colored etching on paper

Overall: 9 3/4 × 13 5/8 in. (24.8 × 34.6 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Jane and Raphael Bernstein



Place Made: England, United Kingdom, Europe



Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Thomas Rowlandson’s print Dark Lanthern Business is a telling example of the habitual misogyny of 18th-century satire. Rowlandson depicts the famous Whig supporter Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and her counterpart, the Tory-candidate advocate Mrs. Hobart (thus the punning Hob and Nob—"Nob" is slang for an aristocrat—of the subtitle) canvassing for votes in the London election of 1784.

While Georgiana flouted rules of behavior for women of her class by going out in public to rally support for her friend Charles James Fox, her political engagement was not unusual. Aristocratic women frequently exerted influence in matters of power and politics in the private sphere—despite their inability to vote themselves. Yet this print (and others) implied that Georgiana worked on behalf of the Whigs through plying sexual favors, garnering attention far beyond London. This notoriety led the duchess to her restrict her political activities to the private sphere, and she did not canvass again in public.

From the 2021 exhibition A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming; John R. Stomberg Ph.D, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director; Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art; and Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University

Course History

ENGL 20, Age of Satire, Alysia Garrison, Winter 2014

ENGL 22, Rise of the Novel, Alysia Garrison, Spring 2019

Exhibition History

Pinpricks and Pomposity: The Inventiveness of English Visual Satire, A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 17–August 28, 2021.

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein collection; Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Hood Museum of Art, 2021, Plate 19, p.36, detail fig. 3.2, p.31, listed p.99.


Andrew Edmunds, London, England; sold to Jane and Raphael Bernstein, Ridgewood, New Jersey, November 26th, 1992; lent to present collection, 2010.

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