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Six Insipid Child Workers from The Temple of Fancy

19-March-2012 0:00
in Curiosities
by Peter Berthoud

The images below were originally published in 1812 by S & J Fuller at their Temple of Fancy in Rathbone Place.

They follow in the long tradition of illustrating London's street hawkers and traders.

I somehow doubt that this unlikely collection of little misses and their canine chums can tell us anything whatsoever about the lives of child street hawkers in the early 19th Century but perhaps they tell us something about those wealthy enough to purchase sets of these prints. I found them in an 1883 collection: "London Cries: with Six Charming Children" by Andrew W. Tuer.

Mr Tuer cannot name the artist but says that a set "Will readily bring ten or twelve guineas at Christie's or Sotheby's ... a greatly inflated price." and so, as a public service, he made them available once more. In fact he liked them so much that in his book each print is reproduced twice, once in a red tint and then again in a brown tint.

London Cries -
London Cries - "Potatoes, Full Weight!"
London Cries -
London Cries - "Milk 'O!"
London Cries -
London Cries - "Fresh Strawberries!"
London Cries -
London Cries -
London Cries - "Chairs to Mend!"
London Cries -
London Cries - "All a Blowin'"

Over the centuries there have been many volumes on the subject of "London Cries". Often the illustrations are witty and give some insight into London's street life. Here is an example from Thomas Rowlandson produced in 1819.

London Cries - The Watchman
London Cries - The Watchman "Past one o'clock, an' a fine morning!"

I don't really like them at all but I couldn't find them anywhere else on the net and thought they at least deserved to be documented online.

For an excellent post on the vastly superior Rowlandson prints have a look at the excellent Spitalfields Life.

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