The monster going to take his afternoons luncheon

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James Gillray
The monster going to take his afternoons luncheon
image: 241 x 333 mm; plate mark: 248 x 350 mm; sheet: 250 x 350 mm
Peel 2456
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

By James Gillray.
Inspired by the notorious case of Renwick Williams, publicly dubbed "The Monster," who was apprehended and convicted a short time after this print was produced for a series of assaults made with a knife upon young women on the streets of London.
A later state of Gillray's etching, with the image and title altered; the first state was issued with the caption title: The monster disappointed of his afternoons luncheon-or porridge-potts preferable to cork-rumps.
Library's copy trimmed to plate mark.


Print shows an ogre wielding a large knife and fork in each hand; in the left hand he clutches also the petticoats of a young woman, who hangs horizontally, face downwards but raised in profile to the right, screaming with terror. Her legs and posterior are exposed. The Monster has a large head with raised eyebrows and starting eyeballs, his mouth is wide open as if about to bite his captive. His body diminishes in size and terminates in small feet, planted wide apart. Two young women (right) flee from the Monster, looking back and screaming. The petticoats and foot of a third fugitive appear on the extreme right.

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