London: Allen & Co., 1807. Item #04274
"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., 1807 [but ca. 1813].
Later issue (first published in 1796). Quarto (10 3/16 x 8 3/8 in; 259 x 213 mm.). iv, v, 6-217, [1, list of plates] pp. Engraved title-page (included in pagination) Hand colored frontispiece and 100 hand-colored etched plates (on ninety-nine leaves) by Isaac Cruikshank after Woodward, including three folding plates (Plates 1, 2, and 3). The text is watermarked "W. Balston 1813".
Bound by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed on verso of front endpaper) ca. 1890. Full maroon morocco, covers with double-gilt borders, spine with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt ruled board-edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, marbled end-papers, top edge gilt, others uncut. Occasional toning or foxing, a few leaves with neatly repaired or strengthened edges. Overall an excellent 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.
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.
"The first and most celebrated of Woodward's books. The text describes an idiosyncratic ramble around the counties of England and Wales." (Gordon, p. 15).
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).
Gordon, BC-26; Widener 207; Not in Abbey or Tooley.