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Electioneering is in full swing in a country village. A farmer is being handed bribes by deputies of the opposing parties and invitations to dine at their respective headquarters. A candidate buys trinkets from a peddler to solicit the support and perhaps the favor of the ladies on the balcony. The outbreak of war with France in 1756 is referenced by the sculpted lion devouring the fleur-de-lis of France, but the English lion is toothless since its navy had suffered embarrassing reverses. This sense of impotence is underscored by the men on the left. They are reenacting England’s last naval victory, which had occurred nearly 20 years in the past: the 1739 capture of the Caribbean stronghold of Portobello (the name of the alehouse in front of which the men sit).
William George Sullivan; given to the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1930.