Chairing the Member

‘Chairing the Member’ by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1828. This oil on panel by Haydon depicts a crowd scene: central focus is a group causing mayhem, two male figures are borne on the shoulders of the group. Another one, wearing a red waistcoat and coat, white breeches and a Napoleonic hat carrying a long pole attempts to challenge three guards. A small child is also involved. On the right a man in a red coat and white shirt with black tie sits drunkenly on a water butt holding a bottle. He is aided by a woman in a black dress and bonnet, a young girl and a toddler holding a hoop. On the left a drunken figure has collapsed onto the floor beside a table laden with glasses and carafes of wine. Two further bottles and a pineapple sit in a barrel on the ground. An elderly man watches from an upstairs window on the right and another figure with a red flag hangs out of an upper window left.

Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846) was a British artist who focused on painting historical scenes. Haydon exhibited the finished picture this one is associated with, and its companion, along with “Solomon” and “Jerusalem” at the Western Bazaar in Bond Street, prompting Charles Lamb’s comment that “Perhaps the subject is a little discordantly placed opposite to another act of Chairing, where the huzzahs were Hosannahs”. He sold it to an Exeter gentleman for £300, £225 less than its worth and was disappointed that the King did not buy it together with the “Election”: Haydon had judged it “a satire touching so nearly on depravity that nobody but a King could sanction it” (Autobiography II). This work is a sketch for the larger version in the Tate Gallery, London.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
oil on panel
Common Name
Chairing the Member
Simple Name
Full Name
Chairing the Member
panel height 424 mm; panel length 515 mm; frame height 554 mm; frame length 646 mm
Production Person Surname
Production Person Initials
Benjamin Robert
Period Classification
George IV (1820-1830)
Production Date
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Production Town
Production County
Production Country
United Kingdom: England
Production Area Region
Northern Europe
Production Continent
Family Group

Inscription / Transcription
Nicholson Galy, Exeter; J Chenue 25 Monmouth Street Shaftesbury Avenue WC2

    Tell Us What You Think

    Subject to approval, your name and blog comment will be made public. Any comment replies will also be public. Your email address will never be published. If you wish to contact us privately, please use the Contact form. Required fields are marked *