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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud

Finding Jealous Horns in Hymen's Looking Glass - Wardour Street 1815

This satirical print was produced in Soho in 1815. The faces of a woman and a man can be inverted to give them different expressions. Each view has a title in the centre and two rhyming couplets to the sides. The couplets and images are designed both to convey a moral and to amuse.


I have put some brief notes at the bottom of the post. I have not been able to find another example of this print or to identify the artist. I am still thrilled with this little Soho find.


The Print SHowing the Hymen's Looking Glass View

This view's title is Hymen's Looking Glass

Hymen's Looking Glass - Detail

​The Husbands the Pilot the wife is the Ocean

​He's always in danger she's always in motion


And he who conjoins in this critical state

By reversing this Print may behold his own fate



The second view is titled The Sequel.

The Sequel - Detail

Oh! Husbands take care of suspicion beware

Your Wives may be chaste if you fancy they are


Then Learn by this maxim and be not such elves

To make by your Jealousy Horns for your selves


At the bottom of the The Sequel is this text:


Published as the Act directs Jan'y 4th 1815, by M. Clinch No. 20 Princes Street Soho


"Published as the Act directs" is an early form of copyright notice, the Act being the Statute of Anne 1710.


The section of Wardour Street, south of Brewer Street and into Chinatown was known until 1878 as Princes Street. The website Romantic London shows Horwood's 1819 map of London with 20 Princes Street beneath the south-western corner of St Ann's Church.


There is no sign of Clinch's building today, the approximate location was built over during the development of Shaftesbury Avenue between 1877 and 1886 at some poit the site became the rear of 55 Shaftesbury Avenue.


The British Museum have a handful of examples of other works printed by M.Clinch including two satirical prints by George Cruickshank. These record him being active between 1812-1820 at 20 Princes Street until 1819 and then across the road at number 24, the plot covered today by a branch of Ann Summers and the Duke of Wellington.


The two sets of couplets have different authors.


Hymens Looking Glass

Hymen was the Greek God of marriage and "looking glass" a common term for a mirror.


​The Husbands the Pilot the wife is the Ocean

He's always in danger she's always in motion


And he who conjoins in this critical state

By reversing this Print may behold his own fate


The first couplet is the opening to A Satire on Marriage by Thomas Brown (1662-1704). Also known as Tom Brown the poet's best known lines are probably:


I do not love thee, Dr. Fell,

The reason why I cannot tell ;

But this I know, and know full well,

I do not love thee. Dr. Fell


The words of the second couplet were probably composed by Clinch or the artist of the print.



The Sequel


Oh! Husbands take care of suspicion beware

Your Wives may be chaste if you fancy they are


Then Learn by this maxim and be not such elves

To make by your Jealousy Horns for your selves


The second pair of couplets are clearly based on the chorus of Song VI by Edward Moore of Abingdon (1712-1757) :


Then Husbands! take care, of suspicion beware,

Your wives may be true if you fancy they are;

With confidence trust them, and be not such elves

As to make by your jealousy horns for yourselves



The print measures 18 x 12.5cm.



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