'The Sphinx is silent', 1876. Artist: Joseph Swain

'The Sphinx is silent', 1876. Artist: Joseph Swain

1-150-762 - The Cartoon Collector/Heritage-Images

'The Sphinx is silent', 1876. The Conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, is here depicted as a great Sphinx, whilst, below him, the British public (notably shown as an entirely male crowd) beg him to speak. Behind the Sphinx can be seen a reference to the Eastern Question. This may refer to the pamphlet which was shortly to be published by the former Liberal Leader, Gladstone, which was entitled The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East. The whole cartoon relates to the recent conflicts involving Turkey that had culminated in a Bulgarian uprising. The British government was concerned that Russia would become involved to protect the Bulgarians. Both sides in the conflict were guilty of perpetrating atrocities. Press coverage in Britain was graphic, but Disraeli was resolute in keeping a distance, though, whilst the country, through the media, clamoured for him to speak. From Punch, or the London Charivari, July 15, 1876.

Image Details


  1. 15/7/1876
  1. 0350000600
  1. 1-150-762
  1. 1150762
  1. 15/7/1876
  1. 600

Digital Image Size

Pixel Dimensions (W x H) : 3750x5026
File Size : 55,218kb

People Information

  1. Joseph Swain, attributed to: British: Engraver
  1. John Tenniel: British: Artist, illustrator, painter
  1. Benjamin Disraeli: British: Statesman, novelist, prime minister

Picture Type
  1. Satire

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