Non Mi Ricordo.

Item Description

George Cruickshank and William Hone. Woodblock engraving. 1820.

William Hone’s Non mi Ricordo! ridicules King George IV and his attempt to divorce his wife, Queen Caroline, through a public trial held in Parliament. Like the caricature Narcissus (left), this piece was one of many that, aside from helping acquit the Queen, riled the masses against a corrupt, unbecoming government figure. The King bribed witnesses to charge his wife with adultery while she was abroad. One witness in particular, the Queen’s Italian servant Majocchi, gave a first-hand account of one of Her Majesty’s supposed affairs. In cross-examination, however, Majocchi’s claims fell apart to the point that he resorted to saying “Non mi ricordo!,” which is Italian for “I don’t remember!”
Hone held a poor opinion of the King, who was broadly criticized both for requesting this ridiculous trial, and for his alleged adultery and profligacy. He thus fused George IV’s character flaws and Majocchi’s failure in court into a radical satire against the King and his regime. For instance, the image of the King here replaces Majocchi behind the witness stand. The extravagant outfit and recognizable features make him easily identifiable, but his plump appearance and distorted face make him unattractive to the public. His use of the line “Non mi Ricordo!” to answer a simple “who are you?” makes the King a man easily ridiculed, as Majocchi was during trial.