The Gordon Riots

WAG 7592


Green specialised in historical subjects and this watercolour is typical of his work. The Gordon Riots took place in London in 1780. In the 18th century Catholics were not tolerated in Protestant England. The Catholic Relief Act of 1778 abolished harsh anti-Catholic legislation and the riots were fuelled by the British politician, Lord George Gordon (1751 – 1793) who wanted to revoke of the Act and return to the repression of Catholics. Gordon, along with a crowd of 60,000 people, presented a petition to the House of Commons stating that the legislation was a threat to the Church of England.