The Mischief of Methodism

George Moutard Woodward (1760–1809).
The Mischief of Methodism.
Hand-colored etching.
[London: Thomas Tegg, 1811; reprinted ca. 1818]. (BRB1101)

This satirical print by George Moutard Woodward was first published in 1811 in Thomas Rowlandson’s popular Caricature Magazine, or Hudabristic Mirror. A keen observer of the foibles of society in Georgian England, Woodward poked fun at two stereotypical preachers: a slender Methodist whose popularity in the pulpit causes the listeners at his chapel to neglect their daily obligations, and a rotund Anglican parish priest whose sermons attract no following at all.

The four prints depicted on the wall further parody the abilities of the two preachers. On the left, the image of the proverbial “Tale of a Tubb” refers to the rambling, nonsensical nature of the Methodist’s sermons. Near the center, the Methodist’s hat hangs over an image of the “Blind Leading the Blind” so that the viewer is blinded to the lesson of this biblical proverb. To the right, the Anglican’s hat obscures “Hope,” while the image of the “The Four Evangelists” suggests an uncharitable contrast between the sainted authors of the Gospels and their modern counterparts.

The Mischief of Methodism