Sergent Recruteur / R. Bran sc.

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Thomas Rowlandson
Sergent Recruteur / R. Bran sc.
[London] : Pubd. October 24th. 1789 by S.W. Fores No 3 Piccadilly, [1789]
etching, hand colored
image: 237 x 388 mm; sheet: 262 x 403 mm
Peel 2373
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

Title from item.
With "Fores's Museum is now opened admit. 1 shill / the largest collection in the kingdom." in lower margin.
Library's copy trimmed within plate mark.


The Duc d'Orléans as a recruiting sergeant addresses a group of Billingsgate fish-wives who treat him with contempt and ridicule. He wears a frogged tunic and a fur cape; a scarf across his shoulder is inscribed 'Vive la liberté'. In his left hand he holds a long pike. Beside him is a grotesque drummer, the Frenchman of caricature, who beats his drum with a ferocious scowl at the fish-wives. A young woman behind him on the extreme right holds up his long, stiffened queue and displays it to a companion. The fish-wives are ugly old women, with one comely younger one. One sits on the ground beside two baskets of fish, one filled with writhing eels. Five stand behind her, one (left) smoking a pipe clenches her fists; another (right) pours out a glass of gin. Behind (right) are the columns of Billingsgate market, inscribed 'Billinsgate', and (left) sails and rigging. Above the design is etched 'Serjeant Kite' [from Farquhar's 'Recruiting Officer']. Cf. British Museum online catalog.

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