Detail from The Westminster Election by Robert Dighton.
This pen and watercolour drawing is one of several depictions of the Westminster Election by Robert Dighton in the Museum's collection.
Here, Dighton presents us with a scene in Covent Garden during the election of 1788, when Lord John Townshend campaigned against Admiral Lord Hood. Recognisable portraits include the politican Charles James Fox, the Duke of Norfolk and John Wilkes, Chamberlain to the City of London. His pocket is being picked by an opportunistic young thief. The Prince of Wales and his mistress can be seen in the decorative phaeton making its way through the crowd.
In the central foreground are Townshend, the Duchess of Devonshire and her sister. An active political campaigner, the Duchess was involved in election canvassing by the date of Dighton's drawing. These portraits of leading society figures are juxtaposed with a crowd of caricatured Londoners, some of whom are shown wearing election favours and waving flags for the different sides.