Anti-Catholic Riots in London.
Rare etching depicting two large buildings on fire during the Gordon Riots: the Kings Bench Prison on the right, and a building on the left that may be the Surrey House of Correction. The prison is shown with a high curved wall around it, while the other building has a low wall in front and a pediment in the center of its facade. It is worth noting that the geographical relationship between the two buildings as depicted in the print does not match the actual layout of the two structures in St. Georges Fields.
The event depicted in the print is the Gordon Riots, which took place in London in June 1780. The riots were a series of violent disturbances that were sparked by widespread opposition to the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. The rioters, who were predominantly Protestant and drawn from the lower and middle classes, were led by Lord George Gordon. The rioters attacked and destroyed buildings associated with the Catholic Church and other symbols of the government and aristocracy. The rioters were also known to attack and kill individuals perceived as sympathetic to Catholics or supportive of the Catholic Relief Act. The print shows the Gordon rioters wielding sticks, displaying banners, and setting buildings on fire, in the midst of this violence. The riots eventually ended on June 9, 1780, after the government deployed the military to suppress the unrest.