England, 1787 - 1792

From what we now see, nothing of reform in the political world ought to be held improbable. It is an age of revolutions, in which every thing may be looked for.
    – Rights of Man, February 1791

In 1787 Thomas Paine, who had a strong bent for science, returned temporarily to England to promote his design for an iron bridge. The storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, however, turned his interest back to “Political Bridges.” Rebutting conservative Whig Edmund Burke’s attack on the French Revolution, Paine went on in his two-part Rights of Man to undermine the established order of the British Constitution. “He seems Cock Sure of bringing about a Revolution in Great Britain,” recorded the New York–born aristocrat Gouverneur Morris, “and I think it quite as likely that he will be promoted to the Pilory.” Charged with “wicked and seditious writings,” Paine fled to France.


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  Click to enlarge imageThomas Paine
Attributed to Samuel Collings (?–1795)
Pencil, ink, and wash on paper, c. 1792
  Click to enlarge imageRights of Man: Being an Answer to Mr. Burke’s Attack on the French Revolution, 1791
  Click to enlarge imageDedication page from Rights of Man
  Tonsure (rear view), 1921, Marcel Duchamp (photographed by Man Ray, 1890–1976), Private collection, courtesy of Sean Kelly Gallery, New York City
© 2009 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris   Rrose Sélavy, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray (1890–1976), Private collection, © 2009 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris   Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946), Palladium print, 1923, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection (1949.3.585), © 2008 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York  
  Click to enlarge imageThomas Paine
William Sharp (1749–1824), after George Romney
Engraving, 1793
  Click to enlarge imageFashion before Ease; or, a Good Constitution sacrificed, for a Fantastick Form
James Gillray (1757–1815)
Colored engraving, published in London, January 2, 1793
  Click to enlarge imageWha Wants Me
Isaac Cruikshank (1756–1811)
Colored engraving, published in London, December 26, 1792

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