The Effusions of a Troubled Brain

Attributed to Theodore Lane (1800-1828), The Effusions of a Troubled Brain or Evil Communications Corrupt Good Manners in The Attorney-General’s Charges Against the Late Queen, Brought Forward in the House of Peers, on Saturday, August 19th, 1820 (London: George Humphrey [1821]). Gift of Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize Cruik 1820.29E.
The British print publisher George Humphrey (1760?-1831?) issued this series of caricatures concerning the charges brought against Queen Caroline (1768-1821), consort of George IV, King of Great Britain. The volume contains a transcript of the charges followed by fifty hand colored etchings by George Cruikshank (1792-1878), Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), and (attributed to) Theodore Lane (1800-1828).

The caricatures all make fun of Caroline and were commissioned by George IV because he was sick of the fact that about 80-90% of the almost 1000 caricatures of his proposed divorce were pro-Queen. The series begins with the print Honi soit qui mal y pense (above left), which shows forty-two of the plates from this book on view in Humphrey’s shop at 27 St. James’s Street (the same shop owned by his aunt Hannah Humphrey). The first prints are dated January 1821 and the last August 1821, indicating that the book was published one year after the charges were filed and five days after Caroline died at the age of fifty-three.


In 1795, Princess Caroline of Brunswick was married to her cousin, the Prince of Wales, as part of an agreement to settle his debts. They separated soon as their only child was born and Caroline eventually moved to Italy. When her husband was to be crowned King George IV, she returned to London only to have him introduce a bill into Parliament accusing her of adultery so that he could get a divorce. Although the bill failed and public sympathy was with Caroline, she was still barred from the coronation and died not long after under unexplained circumstances.


There are only five recorded copies of this book in the United States and many are incomplete. Besides ours at Princeton, they can be found at Southeast Missouri State University, Columbia University, the Huntington Library, and Northwestern University. The British Museum does not own a copy.