In that Droll and Pleasing Manner of Mary Darly

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Mary Darly (flourished 1756-1779) managed a London print shop call The Acorn, first on Ryder’s Court, near Cranbourn Alley and later at 39 Strand, on the corner of Buckingham Street. Here’s a modern map to see where she worked:

View Mary Darly in a larger map


Darly designed and sold a variety of uncomplicated caricatures of politicians and upper class women’s fashion. Mary also taught etching and printing, probably to the very ladies she was satirized in her prints. Her husband, Matthew Darly (flourished 1741-1778) was also a printmaker and their penchant for both signing prints “M. Darly” has led to some confusion over authorship.

Mary Darly is credited with writing (and engraving) the first manual to drawing caricatures, A Book of Caricaturas on 59 Copper-Plates (1762), seen here. There is only one page of commentary, three pages of instruction, and a number of specimens.


Mary Darly (flourished 1756-1779), A Book of Caricaturas: on 59 Copper-Plates, with Ye Principles of Designing in that Droll & Pleasing Manner, with Sundry Ancient & Modern Examples & Several Well Known Caricaturas (Cornhill [London]: Printed for John Bowles, 1762). All etched and engraved. Graphic Arts GA 2005-2501N


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I have a framed copy of "Hats" with the wording act Oct 12,1773 by Darly 39 Strand. There is a number "28" in the upper left hand corner. Is there any way to tell if this is an old print. It is in color and is really nice to look at.

David Davis