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The Game of Hazard


Attributed to Francesco Bartolozzi (1728-1815) after Loraine Smith (1751-1835), The Game of Hazard, 1782. Etching with aquatint. Published by M. Rack, London. Graphic Arts GAX 2011-

In Smith’s design, we see (on the left) the Whig politician Charles James Fox (1749-1806) who was, at the time, the foreign secretary in Rockingham’s short-lived government, and (right) Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford (1732-1792), who had recently left office as Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons.

They are busy playing the popular dice game called Hazard. The print is inscribed, “Here goes at the Treasury and all in the Ring, Seven’s the Main & Seven’s a Nick.” 1 May 1782

Born in Florence, the superb engraver Francesco Bartolozzi moved to London in 1764 and helped to establish the Royal Academy of Arts. While there, Bartolozzi did a number of commercial projects including the aquatinting of this print, working from in his large home in the North End, Fulham.

Going to a Fight

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Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), Going to a Fight. [Illustra]ting the Sporting World in all its variety of Style and Costume along the/ Road from Hyde Park Corner to Moulsey Hurst, 1819. Etching with aquatint and hand coloring. Box theater by Sangorski & Sutcliff. Graphic Arts 2011-

A series of eight prints by Robert Cruikshank (George’s brother) showing forty-one numbered scenes are joined together to form a panorama, reading right to left. The prints show a group of Londoners traveling to a boxing match in Moulsey Hurst (near East Molesey). Landmarks seen along the way include the White Horse Inn and the Diana Fountain at Hampton Court.

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Princeton’s copy was originally in a hand-held cylinder, decorated with a hand colored and varnished print of two boxers by Cruikshank. Later, a box theater was constructed in wood and red leather so that the scroll could be viewed through a glass window. The box resembles one posted earlier for the panorama Trip to Town (GA 2005-01039). Both are embossed: E.P. Sutton & Company, Sangorski & Sutcliff.

The author of Boxiana, Pierce Egan (1772-1849), wrote Key to the picture of the fancy Going to a Fight at Moulsey-Hurst, (London, 1819) but no copy is held in graphic arts.

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Painted without hands in 1844


Thanks to the generous donation of W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976, given in honor of Meg Whitman, Class of 1977, graphic arts is the proud owner of a watercolor portrait by the British artist Sarah Biffin (1784-1850). Born with no arms or hands or legs or feet, Biffin taught herself to perform a variety of everyday tasks using her mouth and shoulders. She developed a talent for drawing and painting; became an expert seamstress; and performed these abilities before a crowd of spectators.

Sarah Biffin (1784-1850), Portrait of Captain James West (1808-1884), 1844. Watercolor on paper. Graphic Arts. 2011- in process. Gift of W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976, given in honor of Meg Whitman, Class of 1977.

Biffin’s family contracted with Emmanuel Dukes, a traveling showman, to make her one of his sideshow attractions. She traveled from town to town, painting or writing for the public’s entertainment. Dukes publicized her as “The Eighth Wonder!” and pocketed all the proceeds from the sale of her watercolors.

Thanks to the patronage from George Douglas, the sixteenth Earl of Morton (1761-1827), Biffin was finally released from her contract and established a studio in the Strand, London, where she painted miniature portraits.

A brief and unfortunate marriage left Biffin destitute. Her later years were spent in poverty, living in Liverpool, surviving thanks to the support from a public appeal led by Richard Rathbone. Biffin continued to paint and in 1844, completed this portrait of James West (1808-1884), captain of the U.S. Mail Steamship “Atlantic,” which sailed between New York and Liverpool.

For more details, see the entry on Biffin in: Stephen Lloyd and Kim Sloan, The Intimate Portrait ([Edinburgh]: National Galleries of Scotland; [London]: The British Museum, 2008. Marquand Library and Graphic Arts ND1314.4 .L56 2008.

Long Live the Goose


Designed and published by William Hone (1780-1842) and etched by George Cruikshank (1792-1878), The Royal Shambles or the Progress of Legitimacy & Reestablishment of Religion & Social Order - !!! - !!!, 1816. Etchings. Graphic Arts Cruikshank. Gift of Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888.


Louis XVIII (1755-1824) was King of France from 1814 to 1824, except for 100 days in 1815. Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped his island prison and was headed to Paris. The soldiers stationed outside Paris defected to Bonaparte and Louis XVIII quickly left France. Happily for him, the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and the King was able to return, reentering Paris on July 8, 1815.

There was a celebration the following July and in August 1816, the British artist William Hone (1780-1842) published this panoramic caricature of the French King’s procession, literally on the backs of the French people. Princeton is fortunate to own three copies, a hand colored proof, an uncolored proof, and a finished copy with lettering added.

In Hone’s procession, Louis XVIII rides on a cannon pulled by Wellington. Four men/countries march along, including Francis I, Emperor of Austria; Frederick William III, King of Prussia; John Bull; and Alexander I, Tsar of Russia. Behind, on a crowned donkey are two couples, Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duc d’Angoulême (1775-1844), Charles, Duc de Berry (1686-1714), and their wives.

On the scaffolding above, a variety of executions, hangings, and mutilations continue in-between cheers. Rather than “Long live the King” the crowd shouts “Vive l’Oie,” (Long live the goose).

Before and After

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William Hogarth (1697-1764), Before (left) and After (right), 1736. Etching and engraving, 2nd state (Paulson 141 and 142). Graphic Arts Hogarth collection

Hogarth painted two versions of these scenes, one depicting the lovers indoors and one outdoors. The first was commissioned by John Thomson, who fled to France before the paintings were finished, after being charged with fraud and theft in the 1731 Charitable Corporation scandal.

The man in the scene has been identified as Sir John Willes, Walpole Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and a notorious womanizer. Hogarth fills the prints with sexual innuendo, such as the framed cupid preparing to shoot his rocket before and smiling contentedly as the rocket returns to earth after.

Although she hesitates, the woman is not completely virtuous. On her vanity is a book of erotic poems by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-1680) and in the drawer is another volume labeled simply “novels.” After sex, the man dresses quickly while the woman entices him to stay. On the floor, a book is open to a quotation from Aristotle: “Omne Animal Post Coitum Triste” (Every animal is sad after intercourse).

The diptych sold well throughout Hogarth lifetime but after his death both Mrs. Hogarth and John Boydell suppressed it from some bound editions of his complete works. In later editions, they were often placed inside folders at the back of the volume.

Toulouse-Lautrec and the Red-Haired Woman

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), La passagère du 54 - Promendae en Yacht (The Passenger in 54 - On a Cruise), 1896. Lithograph. Third state. Graphic Arts French Prints.

In 1895, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and his friend, the photographer Maurice Guibert (1856-1913), took a vacation on a steamship, intending to sail from Le Havre to Bordeaux. While on board, Lautrec became infatuated with a red-haired woman. He never spoke to her or learned her name; he only knew that she slept in cabin number fifty-four. At his friend’s request, Guibert secretly took a photograph of her while she was relaxing on a deck chair.

Lautrec learned that she was traveling on to Dakar, Africa. Rather than disembark at Bordeaux, he remained on board hoping to speak to her. It was not until Lisbon that Guibert is said to have dragged the artist off the ship and back to Paris.

The Parisian magazine La Plume, under the leadership of Léon Deschamps, sponsored a series of exhibitions from 1894 to 1900 called Le Salon des Cent, because the shows were limited to 100 artists. Lautrec was commissioned to create a poster for the 1896 exhibition and used Guibert’s photograph to draw the red-haired woman. His lithograph became known as La passagère du 54 - Promendae en Yacht (The Passenger in 54 - On a Cruise).

See also La Plume. No 1-426 (15 avril 1889-1 jan. 1914). Firestone Recap 0904.726

Resist the devil and he will fly far from you


Albert Alden (1812-1883), The Life and Age of Man: Stages of Man’s Life, from the Cradle to the Grave, wherein all Christians May Behold their Frail Nature, and the Miseries that Attend a Sinful Life, Set Forth in an Alphabetical Poem. Barre, Mass.: Printed by Thompson and Alden, [ca. 1835-1840]. Broadside with a large allegorical wood engraving attributed to Albert Alden. Paul M. Ingersoll, Class of 1950, Graphic Arts Acquisitions Fund. Graphic Arts Broadside Collection.


Picturing the different ages and/or stages of life has been a favorite subject of artists, from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. The earliest broadsides were printed for a popular audience, to appeal to their fears about life and death; sin and salvation; and stimulate the belief in a moral life.

In 1540, the German painter Jörg Breu, the younger (ca. 1510-1547) published Ten Ages of Man, one of the first engravings showing the steps of life, with staircases leading both up and down, as man passes from the cradle to the grave. Abraham Bach repeated the motif in the seventeenth century, but added a woman on each step, with the more politically correct title, Ten Ages of Human Life.

Satirical print (The Ages of Man), 1630s. Published by Thomas Jenner (died 1673). Engraving. British Museum.

This seventeenth-century Ages of Man engraving closely resembles the nineteenth-century broadside held in Princeton’s graphic arts collection. It presents a man’s life in eleven steps, with three muses in the central arch below. Albert Alden’s broadside depicts life in eleven stages, but offers the more typical devil at the bottom center, tempting two men. One accepts and one rejects these temptations. In both prints, a clock is ticking, moving us ever closer to midnight.

The Pennsylvania printmaker Gustav S. Peters designed another version, with only slight variations, as did James Baillie, Nathaniel Currier, and the Kellogg Brothers. Dozens of other versions were published, purchased, and hung on bedroom walls throughout the nineteenth century.

James Baillie, The Life and Age of Man, Stages of Man’s Life, from the Cradle to the Grave, ca. 1848. Library of Congress.

For more information, see Thomas R. Cole, The Journey of Life: a Cultural History of Aging in America (Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). Firestone Library (F) HQ1064.U5 C526 1992
Alan Wallach, “Voyage of Life as popular art,” Art Bulletin 59, no. 2 (June 1977)

La défaite de Porus, engraved by Picart


Engraved by Bernard Picart (1673-1733) after a design by Pierre Gaubert (1659-1741), La défaite de Porus [Defeat of Porus by Alexander the Great at the Battle of the Hydaspes], ca. 1730. Engraving. Graphic Arts French prints


In 326 B.C.E., along the banks of the Hydaspes River, in what is present day Pakistan, there was a battle between King Porus of Paurava (4th century B.C.E.) and Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.). Alexander’s men faced an army that included 200 war elephants, which led the first charge. After a long and bloody battle, 3,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry were killed, leaving Alexander and his men the victors. Impressed by the dignity of King Porus, Alexander is said to have made peace with him and given him the kingship of neighboring territory.


Picart created this scene at the same time that he was completing thousands of prints for the massive study Religious Ceremonies of the World (Ex Oversize 5017.247.11f). Professor Anthony Grafton wrote, “In 1723, the engraver Bernard Picart and the printer Jean Frederic Bernard revealed the varied religions of the world to European readers. In seven splendidly illustrated folio volumes that appeared from 1723 to 1737, Religious Ceremonies of the World offered—at least to anyone strong enough to lift one of the volumes and open it—a tableau of the world’s priests and believers, in action.” “A Jewel of a Thousand Facets,” New York Review of Books June 24, 2010.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a similar, large format print of this battle, engraved by Picart but after a design by Charles le Brun (1619-1790). Unfortunately no image has been posted on their database.

See more:
Philip Freeman, Alexander the Great (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011). (Dixon) Firestone DF234 .F74 2011
Lynn Avery Hunt, The Book That Changed Europe: Picart & Bernard’s Religious Ceremonies of the World (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010). Firestone BL80.3 .H86 2010

Le prix de sagesse (The Price of Wisdom)

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Le prix de sagesse ou La Fontaine en jeu (The Price of Wisdom or A Game of La Fontaine), 1810. Etching. Paris: Chez Demonville Imprimeur Libraire. Graphic Arts French prints

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This is an early nineteenth-century version of the Game of the Goose, which is claimed to have been a gift from Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1541-1613) to King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) sometime between 1574 and 1587. According to H. J. R. Murray, A History of Board-Games Other than Chess (Firestone GV1312 .M8 1952), the Game of the Goose reached England by 1597, when John Wolfe entered “the newe and most pleasant game of the Goose” in the Stationers’ Register.

No matter what the theme, the board consists of sixty-three numbered spaces arranged in a spiral. In La prix de sagesse each of the numbered compartments depicts a fable from Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695), arranged around a center square. Rules are also given in English, along with brief summaries of the fables in verse to left and to right.

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The French poet La Fontaine published 243 fables in twelve books from 1668 to 1694. He took his inspiration from Aesop, Horace, and ancient Indian literature such as the Panchatantra. The first collection of Fables Choisies (Ex 3262.33.173) appeared March 31, 1668, dedicated to “Monseigneur” Louis de France (1661-1711) the six-year-old son and heir of Louis XIV, King of France and Maria Theresa of Spain.

Rare Books and Special Collections holds more than 150 editions of La Fontaine’s Fables. The Cotsen collection holds over two dozen different versions of the Game of the Goose, included a variant edition of the La Fontaine: Jeu instructif des Fables de la Fontaine (Paris: Basset [between 1835 and 1845]). (CTSN) Print Case LA / Box 99 103446

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For English translations of the fables, see

Qu'en dit l'Abbe?

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Nicolas Delaunay (1739-1792) after a design by Niclas Lafrensen, the younger, also known as Nicolas Lavreince (1737-1807), Qu’en dit l’Abbe? [What would the Abbot say?]. Unfinished proof copy, ca.1788. Etching and engraving. Graphic Arts French prints.

The Swedish miniature painter Niclas Lafrensen created this Rococo scene in gouache to be engraved by the Parisian master printer Nicolas Delaunay and sold through the fine print market. The print is dedicated to Countess d’Ogny, wife of a young nobleman Claude-François-Marie Rigolet, Comte d’Ogny (1757-1790). We see Madame d’Ogny choosing wallpaper, taking a singing lesson, and having her hair done while entertaining guests in an elegant sitting room.

It is interesting to note that Comte d’Ogny, the founder of the Paris-based music society, Concert de la Loge olympique, and patron of Franz Josef Haydn, was known for his extravagance and left a debt of 100,000 livres when he died.

Lafrensen and Delaunay also created a pendant scene: Le billet doux (The Love Letter) showing a man slipping a letter to one woman while chatting with another.

Delaunay engraved a number of book illustrations. Here are a few:
Arnaud Berquin (1747-1791). Idylles, romances, et autres poésies de Berquin (Paris: Ant. Aug. Renouard, 1803). Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Euro 18 23489

Jean Michel Moreau (1741-1814), Dessins de Moreau ([Paris: s.n., 1776-1779]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2008-2366N

Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus Vociferus)

John James Audubon (1785-1851), Le Wip-poor-will de Mr. Buffon (or Whip-poor-will), 1806. Pencil and crayons on paper. Signed and dated in pencil, l.l.: ‘Mill Grove, Pensylvania [sic] // the 21 of July, 1806 // J.J.A.’ GC154 John James Audubon Collection. Gift of John S. Williams, Class of 1924.

On April 12, 1806, John James Audubon (1785-1851) sailed back to the United States under a false passport to take responsibility for the family estate at Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. The 248 acres of farmland and woods had significant mining deposits and Audubon’s responsibilities included the lead mines.

A friend in Nantes had introduced Audubon to pastels and the twenty-one year old preferred to spend his time roaming the hills along the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River hunting and sketching. This drawing was completed just three months after his arrival.

When Audubon married a few years later and moved to Kentucky, this early drawing went with him to serve as a model for his famous Birds of America, plate 42: Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus Vociferus, Wills.).

John Locker, magistrate and ugly artist

John Locker (1773-1834), A Scene at Billingsgate, 1793. Pen and wash drawing on laid paper. Graphic Arts collection GA 2007.00040. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

Billingsgate was an enormous fish market in eighteenth and nineteenth-century London, and a slang term for coarsely abusive or profane language. The artist of this sketch was John Locker (1773-1834), chief magistrate and registrar of the Vice Admiralty Court at Malta. As the son of Captain William Locker (1731-1800), Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital and a great patron to the arts, John was introduced to many painters while growing up, including Gilbert Stewart (1755-1828), who painted Captain Locker’s portrait shortly before he died.

Both John and his brother Edward Hawke Locker (1777-1849) were educated at Eton College and received training in the visual arts before pursuing naval careers. Edward was the only one to publish his art. In 1813, during the Peninsular War, he traveled to Spain with Lord John Russell and later published a memoir entitled Views of Spain (1824), with illustrations after his own watercolors (Ex 1521.592).

Captain Locker planned a gallery of naval art but it fell to Edward, who became an administrator at Greenwich Hospital, to finally establish a National Maritime Museum. His son, John’s nephew, was Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895), a minor poet and major bibliophile. In Frederick’s book My Confidences. An Autobiographical Sketch Addressed to My Descendants, he wrote, “The Lockers were a homely-looking race.”

“…Uncle John Locker, who was very ugly, used to say that you could not widen the mouth of a Locker without injury to his ears. One day at Malta, at the dinner table, he asked a stranger, who had just landed, to take wine, expressing his pleasure in seeing him there and his obligation in these words: ‘Yesterday, sir, I was the ugliest man in all Malta!’ Tradition says that the man did not resent this speech, so I presume my uncle, with all his impudence, had some social tact.”

Stothard's The Seasons

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Summer, line 232): The House-dog, with the uncouth greyhound, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed Aug. 1. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01999

CoME, gentle SPRING, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil’d in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Summer, line 359): Trail the long rake, or, with the fragrant load, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed: Aug. 2. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02000

Princeton University’s Rare Book collections hold 194 editions of James Thomson’s The Seasons, published from 1726 to 1970, with up to a dozen copies of some editions. The four poems were originally embellished with four allegorical figures of the seasons and later editions included small engravings. In 1793, John Murray brought out an edition “adorned with a set of engravings,” after the designs of Thomas Stothard (1755-1834).

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Summer, line 123): The Zephyrs Floating Loose, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed: June 2. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01998

Eighteen ink and wash sketches by Stothard can be found in the graphic arts collection, with handwritten captions from The Seasons. Each has been assigned a day and month, with two drawings each for nine out of the twelve months. Curator Nancy Finlay has speculated that the set was prepared for an edition of the extremely rare Royal Engagement Pocket Atlas. (

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Spring, line 833): Where sits the shepherd, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed April 2. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01996

According to the Dictionary of National Biography, the artist and librarian began his career in 1779 as an illustrator of books and magazines. Within a year, he sold no less than 148 drawings to the Novelist’s Magazine, for which he was paid a guinea each. Stothard went on to illustrate many important novels, including works by Fielding, Smollett, Richardson, and Sterne, Ridley’s Tales of the Genii, Paltock’s Peter Wilkins, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, Robinson Crusoe, the Arabian Nights, the Vicar of Wakefield, and Gulliver’s Travels.

Stothard revived his designs for The Seasons late in life when he was commissioned to decorate the great staircase at Buckingham Palace.

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Spring , line 801): And idly-butting feigns, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed April 1. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01995


See also: James Thomson (1700-1748), The Seasons (London: J. Murray, 1793). Rare Books (Ex) 3960.2.38.14

Patent Shavograph!!

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Shortshanks (pseudonym for Robert Seymour, 1798-1836), Shaving by Steam, around 1826. Hand-colored etching. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process

The sign above the door on the right announces “Patent Shavograph!!” In the main room, the Shavograph operated from right to left, with customers on a circular bench. Several are missing noses or other features, thanks to the machine.

Seymour notes, “Accidents will occur in the best regulated families,” which was picked up in 1850 by Charles Dickens, when he wrote, “‘My dear friend Copperfield,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated by that pervading influence which sanctifies while it enhances the - a - I would say, in short, by the influence of Woman, in the lofty character of Wife, they may be expected with confidence, and must be borne with philosophy.”

This print is one of many announcing various shaving machines. In 1745, J. Dubois sold the etching, A Perspective View and Section of an Engine Propos’d to be Built by Subscription which will Shave Sixty Men a Minute, also Oyl Comb and Powder their Wigs. Here is an image from the British Museum.


The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829

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Robert Seymour (1798-1836), The Mountain in Labour - or Much Ado about Nothing, 1829. Hand-colored etching. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process.

Seymour’s caricature refers to the Roman Catholic Relief Act passed by the British Parliament on March 24, 1829. The Act permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in parliament, something previously forbidden even if they won an election. The Catholic middle classes could now have new careers in the higher civil service and in the judiciary.

In the center of Seymour’s print are the politicians Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and Prime Minister 1828-1830; Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet (1788-1850) and Prime Minister 1834-1835; and an old woman as doctor, apothecary, and nurse. She is holding a steaming bowl of Political Caudle and a large open book, entitled The Times. She says to Wellington, “Oh! the dear creature, how many will accompany it to Ireland, to spend their money—no doubt Dublin will become more fashionable than Paris—now Doctor never mind the windy warfare of those Gentlemen above!”

On the far left is the Irish politician Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847), founder of the Catholic Association and promoter of the Emancipation Bill. His followers ask him: “Will Mancipation make the Prates grow?” O’Connell answers “Yes.” “Shall we get plenty of Whiskey?” “Yes.” “Will bogs breed Pigs & shall we all wear warm wigs & silk cloaks like you Dan?” “Yes.”

The Times forecast an Emancipation Bill in December 1828 and in February, published some of its provisions. Seymour published his caricature on March 2 and the Act was formally introduced on March 5.

Audubon's Four Striped Ground Squirrels

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John James Audubon (1785-1851), Tamias Quadrivittatus, Striped Ground Squirrel, 1841. Two pen and watercolor drawings. Gifts of John Stanton Williams, Class of 1925. GC154 John James Audubon Collection. Drawn for Audubon’s Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. No. 5, Plate 24 (below).

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The last ten years of Audubon’s life were spent documenting four-legged mammals. He traveled up the Missouri River and around the Southern United States with his collaborator, Reverend Dr. John Bachman (1790-1874). The original folio edition of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-1848) contains 150 colored lithographs executed by the British engraver John T. Bowen (1801-ca. 1856), working in Philadelphia. These prints were made after watercolor drawings, about half of which are the work of Audubon and the other half were by his son, John Woodhouse Audubon (1812-1862).

Two drawings for the Striped Ground Squirrel were completed in May 1841 (the final plate combined them into one image of four squirrels). Audubon noted, “We met with this species as we were descending the Upper Missouri … we saw it first on a tree; afterwards we procured both old and young among the sandy gulleys and clay cliffs, on the sides of the ravines near one of our encampments.”

This drawing comes to Princeton thanks to John Stanton Williams (1902-1982, Class of 1925), who also donated Audubon’s shotgun. Mr. Williams was the founder of the Shaker Museum in Old Chatham, N.Y. and an ardent collector of Audubon’s work.

Often overshadowed by Birds of North America, the imperial folio edition of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America is a scholarly and artistically beautiful work. It was not until 1952 that Quadrupeds came to Princeton University as a gift from Edwin N. Benson, Jr. Class of 1899 and Mrs. Benson, in memory of their son Peter Benson, Class of 1938. Our copy of the first edition (three volumes) was bound at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, stamped M.P.

The Great Fire in New York

Above: Lit from the back
Below: Lit from the front


Franz Xaver Habermann (1721-1796), [Representation de feu terrible a Nouvelle Yorck], 1776. Cut and painted etching. Graphic Arts GA 1995.00006.

On September 15, 1776, George Washington and his men were forced to retreat to the northern end of Manhattan, leaving New York City in the hands of the British. Six days later, a series of fires destroyed one quarter of lower Manhattan leading to claims of arson. While it is true that Washington’s men melted the warning bells to make bullets, Washington claimed to have no other responsibility.

This is one of a number of perspective prints or vues d’optique depicting scenes from the American Revolution. The images of New York City, Boston, and other American cities are imagined scenes, drawn by various artists and etched by the German printmaker Franz Xaver Habermann (1721-1796). Perspective prints were usually titled in several languages and marketed in Paris, Augsburg, London, and elsewhere.


Princeton’s copy was once framed to fit a viewing box. It no longer has a title or caption along the bottom of the image (although there is a hand-written note on the verso). The original title in French was Representation de feu terrible a Nouvelle Yorck and in German Schröckenvolle Feuersbrunst welche zu Neu Yorck. The English translation is The Great Fire in New York.


For more, see D. H. Cresswell, American Revolution in Drawings and Prints, item 268

The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting

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Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) wrote the satirical household manual Directions to Servants in 1745 (RHT 18th-581) and eight years later, Jane Collier (1715?-1755) followed with An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (Ex 3684.585.333). Her anti-etiquette handbook provided advice on how to nag and was quickly reprinted six times.

In 1809, an illustrated edition was planned by the popular print publisher Thomas Tegg (1776-1846). The new, corrected, revised, and illustrated Essay featured five plates designed by George Moutard Woodward (1760-1809). A folded frontispiece was etched by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) after Woodward’s drawing (GA Rowlandson 1808.11).

Collier’s narrator advised, “If you have no children, keep as large a quantity of tame animals as you conveniently can. If you have children, a smaller number will do. Shew the most extravagant fondness you possibly can for all these animals. Let them be of the most troublesome and mischievous sort, such as cats, monkeys, parrots, squirrels, and little snarling lapdogs. Their uses for the Tormenting [of] your servants are various.”

Woodward’s frontispiece, as described by Joseph Grego (1843-1908), includes a Savoyard with a barrel-organ and a troop of dancing dogs; a Frenchman with a dancing bear; and a showman dragging a dromedary, with a monkey perched on its back pulling the animal’s ears. Everyone is taunting or torturing someone else.

Graphic Arts has copies of the print in the bound volume, as a separate sheet, and in Caricature Magazine, or Hudibrastic Mirror, another project on which Woodward, Rowlandson, and Tegg were collaborating in 1808. (GA Rowlandson 1807.5f).

See also Joseph Grego (1843-1908), Rowlandson the Caricaturist (London: Chatto and Windus, 1880). Graphic Arts (GARF) Oversize NE642.R7 G8q

Funeral Ticket for a Company of Bubblers


According to a story in The Financial Times, Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) lost £20,000 in the 1720 South Sea Company stock crash and is reported as having said, “I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.”

south sea2.jpg
George Bickham the Elder (ca. 1684-1758), Death is the End of all Men, ca. 1721. Etching and engraving. Graphic Arts British caricature

In a single year, the price of the South Sea Company stock rose to £1,000 per share and then, dropped to £150. People from all walks of life lost money, sometimes everything they owned, leading to a country-wide frenzy. In the following year, there were reports of widespread fraud. Poems were written and caricatures were drawn satirizing the many fools who were caught up in the South Sea Bubble. The fools were known as the Bubblers.

“Death is the End of all Men” is the declaration of this ticket for the “Bubblers funeral.” Satirically presented to the directors of the South Sea Company, the ticket invites the holder to “accompany the whole Body of S.S. Directors from ye Bubbling house in the Broad way…” in a funeral procession “to ye three Legged Tree near Padington on Fryday the of February 1720/1.”

Its writer, engraver, and publisher George Bickhan is perhaps best known for the writing manual The Universal Penman, issued in 52 parts from 1733 to 1748. [Cotsen Folios 13674]

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The Bubblers Medley, or a Sketch of the Times: Being Europe’s Memorial for the Year 1720. Etching. Published London, Carington Bowles, 1720. Graphic Arts British Caricature

In the top center of this satire on the South Sea Company stock collapse is a man behind bars with a begging pot. The rest of the sheet is filled with trompe l’oeil ballad broadsides, presenting overlapping stories about people who lost their fortune in the scandal of 1720. At the bottom right is an anamorphic image of a man on a horse, perhaps a coded message to escape if you can.

The Prince Regent as Macheath

George Cruikshank (1792-1878), Polly and Lucy Takeing Off Restrictions, Vide Beggar’s Opera, 1812. Hand-colored etching. Graphic Arts Cruikshank Collection. Gift of Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888.

John Gay (1685-1732) wrote The Beggar’s Opera in 1728 to lampoon the Whig statesman Robert Walpole, and politicians in general, as well as the notorious criminals Jonathan Wild and Jack Sheppard. In 1812, George Cruikshank (1792-1878) brought the story into the nineteenth century with his etching Polly and Lucy Takeing [sic] Off Restrictions, Vide [referring to] Beggar’s Opera.

In Cruikshank’s satire, the Prince Regent (later King George IV) is seen as the highwayman Macheath, standing between Maria Anne Fitzherbert (1756-1837) as Polly Peachum, on the left, and Lady Hertford (1760-1834) as Lucy Lockit, on the right. They are undoing the restraints put on the Prince/Macheath, who had been committed to Newgate Prison.

Like Macheath, the Prince had been shackled with terms of the Regency Bill, passed on February 4, 1811, which limited the Regent’s powers. These restrictions expired February 1812 and Cruikshank finished his print the following month. Mrs. Fitzherbert, like Polly, was married to the Regent and here represents the Catholic interest or the Opposition.

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