History of the British Museum and its collections, £6.00
Height: 247.000 mm
Width: 350.000 mm
PD 1871-12-9-981 (BM Satire 3653)
Prints and Drawings
Louis Philippe Boitard, The Imports of Great Britain from France, etching
Published by John Bowles and Son at the Black Horse, Cornhill, London, 7 March 1757
It is surprising that this satire on the British taste for all things French was made by a Frenchman, Louis Philippe Boitard (lived about 1733-67).
The print is addressed to the associations of Anti-Gallicans and the promoters of British arts and manufactures who saw trade as a patriotic duty in a time of war. Although Britain was at war with France, fashionable Londoners still yearned for French styles. Here Boitard shows a ship unloading stereotypical French immigrants and imports, including an effeminate man with a huge muff, a hairdresser with a long queue and a pair of curling tongs, a Roman Catholic milliner with a crucifix around her neck, a dancing master with a tiny violin, and disguised Jesuits. On the quayside are crates of perfumes for Monsieur Pomade and millinery for Mademoiselle Chicane. Men taste the contents of wine barrels, while a boy holds his nose over a cask of Normandy cheese.
Although the purpose of the print is satire it also gives a good impression of Custom House Quay with the Tower in the distance. Boitard illustrates various methods of packing and carrying goods - barrels, crates, bundles stamped with traders marks, and tackle-porters carrying a weighty chest slung between two long poles. These men would have been licensed porters paid by the recipient of the load.