London, J. Johnson June 1st .1816, The Scourge
Original hand colouring
215 x 491 mm
Traces of old folds as issued.
A large room or hall with counters and show-cases on the left and right is crowded with customers, most of whom are intent on clandestine flirtation. In the middle stands John Bull with his family, a stout ‘cit’ wearing top-boots and low-crowned top-hat; his plump wife takes his left arm, and holds up a shopping-bag or basket, saying, "O John I’ve bought such pretty things, now don’t look so cross." He is scowling at his very plain daughter who puts her left hand on his right arm, pointing behind her to a picture of a Venus pudica on the wall (left); she says: "O! Pa! that nice young Hofficer told me I was just like that picture of Wenus. O dear Pa what a sweet place every thing so cheap!" He answers: "Yes—and your poor father & all his honest industrious family will be bankrupts Hussey—Curse such innovations I say." A little boy faces him, riding a hobbyhorse to which a drum is attached. The officer is a rakish but bogus-looking hussar behind Mrs. Bull, ogling through a lorgnette. On the extreme left a fashionably dressed man wearing tight trousers strapped over boots, stands over a case of watches and seals, pocketing a seal; a smartly dressed sheriff’s officer, wearing top-boots, holding a writ and cane, takes his shoulder and says: "I have a little demand Sir of six hundred Pounds for jewellery due to Mr J—ies [Jefferys, see No. 10592]." The other answers: "I’ll attend you directly, and—take the benefit of the Act. I’m d—d glad." A hideous fop wearing loose trousers gathered and tied at the ankles, bends towards a much-décolletée woman who takes a book,’ Innocent Adultery’ [cf. No. 9942], from a book-stall. He says: "Dear Countess your husband’s gone into the other room; I’ve slipped a letter into that book naming time & place." She leers at him, saying, "Very well—you rogue be punctual." By the next counter, where ices are sold, a lady eats an ice from a tall glass; an Irishman, his hand on his breast, says: "Och give me some ice by the powers my flame consumes me." She answers: "I shall be at the Opera this evening." The heads of the assistants are seen, each behind his counter: a man turning his back, two women, the first wearing spectacles. On the right a pretty shopwoman shows her goods to an absurd fop who lounges against the counter, seated on a stool; he wears knee-breeches on thin misshapen legs, with high gaiters falling in festoons. He says: "I say, you know Cousin Toms in Soho Square?" She answers: "Pshaw! that an Old Story, Now do Sir, admire this Article you shall have it uncommonly cheap." A good-looking young man, resembling G. Cruikshank, probably a self-portrait as in No. 11764, looks over his shoulder at them, saying, "I dare say, for I’m sure it’s second hand, & common enough." A hideous old crone, with petticoats above her knees, leans on the next counter, speaking confidentially to the saleswoman: "I’ll take this packet of rouge—but have you no little article for a young woman who has unfortunately lost her teeth." The woman answers with a sly grin: "we do not sell these things publickly but here Ma’am is some Paste Pearls with directions—but & do Madam try this bloom de l’Enclos you will look so young with it." Next, a young woman is choosing parasols beside an absurd admirer; she holds up an open one, screening their heads, saying, "somebody told Aunt you was a footman, but I don’t believe it, & if you are I’ve Ten Thousand pounds independent of them all." The would-be man of fashion: "Have you indeed! Oh! you sweet creature!!" An ugly woman watches them sourly over her shoulder. Behind these foreground figures heads and hats indicate a crowd of customers. There are pictures on the wall, and shelves with jars, &c. On the right is a stand for ribbons and scarves. In an inner room, seen through a wide arch, is a milliner’s display, a cap and a bonnet each on its stand. The print is also a satire on costume, the dresses resembling that of No. 12840, though having more realism. All the women have short petticoats and feather-trimmed bonnets except Mrs. Bull. Apart from the hussar, the men wear top-hats of varying shapes, with projecting shocks of hair (except for John and the sheriff’s officer, who wear wigs, and Cruikshank, who has neat short hair). The trousers are of widely different types; all wear very high stocks with collars projecting over the cheeks.