"A Study the Inhabitants of the Roundhouse and the Regular Attendants at the Police-Court"
A Journey in Caricature through Early Nineteenth Century England…
WOODWARD. George Moutard. Eccentric Excursions, or, Literary & Pictorial Sketches of Countenance, Character & Country, In Different Parts of England & South Wales. Interspersed With Curious Anecdotes, Embellished with upwards of one hundred characteristic & illustrative prints. London: Allen & Co., 1816.
First edition, later issue. Quarto (10 5/8 x 8 1/8 in; 269 x 204 mm). v, 6-217, [1, binder's instructions] pp. With engraved title, hand-colored frontispiece, and 100 hand-colored engravings (three folded) designed by Woodward and engraved by Isaac Cruikshank.
Full nineteenth century maroon morocco with gilt double-fillet borders, gilt dotted raised bands, and gilt-ruled compartments. Gilt dentelles. Gilt-rolled edges. Neatly rebacked. Occasional toning or foxing, a few leaves with neatly repaired or strengthened edges. Overall a very good copy of this journey in caricature through early nineteenth century England.
Originally published in 1796 with subsequent issues in 1797, 1798, 1799, 1801, 1807. 1814, 1815, 1816, 1818, Eccentric Excursions is quite rare in all yet, curiously, is rarer still in the later issues.
George Moutard Woodward (1760?-1809) was "prolific and popular designer of social caricature much in the style of Banbury, etched chiefly by Thomas Rowlandson and Isaac Cruikshank...[his caricatures] display a wealth of imagination and insight into character...extremely entertaining" (DNB).
"Another popular caricaturist of the day was George Moutard Woodward, commonly called ‘Mustard George.' Woodward, according to his friend [Henry] Angelo, was the son of a land agent and spent his youth in a country town, where nothing was less known than everything pertaining to the arts. ‘A caricaturist in a country town,' said Mustard George, ‘like a bull in a china shop, cannot live without noise; so, having made a little noise in my native place, I persuaded my father to let me seek my fortune in town.' Thanks to a small allowance from his father, supplemented by his own earnings, George was able to enjoy life in his own Bohemian fashion, and ultimately took up his quarters at the ‘Brown Bear,' Bow Street, where he was able to study the inhabitants of the roundhouse and the regular attendants at the police-court. At the ‘Brown Bear' he died suddenly, departing in character with a glass of brandy in his hand, and was long mourned by his tavern associates. In his Eccentric Excursion[s], which appeared in volume form in 1796 (the designs engraved by Isaac Cruikshank), there are several domestic subjects, such as The Polite Congregation, Showing Family Pictures, and The Formal Introduction. Among other popular designs by Woodward are Raffling for a Coffin, The Club of Quidnuncs, Babes in the Wood, A Goldfinch and his Mistress…and a series called Six Ways of Carrying a Stick. The majority are marred by extravagant hideousness, but Angelo was of opinion that ‘had this low humourist studied drawing and been temperate in his habits, such was the fecundity of his imagination and perception of character that he might rivalled even Hogarth" (Paston, Social Caricature in the Eighteenth Century, pp. 137-138).
This satire, amongst Moutard's earliest work, enthusiastically depicts all types: high- and low-born, rural and urban, lawyers and peddlers, coaching scenes, misadventures on ice-skates, Oxford dons, gypsies, etc.
Not in Abbey or Tooley.
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