- Museum number
- Object: Tales of Wonder!
Three women seated at a round table listen intently to a fourth who reads 'The Monk' by M. G. Lewis, one volume of which lies beside her on the table. One, full face, is old and ugly, the others young and comely; they register excited horror. The reader sits in profile to the left, elbows on the table; from an ornamental clasp at her waist hangs a watch, showing that the time is 12.45; a younger sister, hardly grown up faces her. The room is lit by a single candle on the table; beside it lie smoking snuffers in a tray. Curtains are draped across the window, a fire burns in the grate (right). Heavy shadows are thrown. The ornaments on the chimney-piece (the right of which is cut off by the right margin) are a Gorgon looking down at the women, a skeleton from which snakes emerge, and a dragon. On the fireplace is a carving in relief: Pluto carrying off Persephone in his chariot. There is a picture of a man in armour carrying off a protesting young woman, with rape and slaughter indicated in the background. The room is luxuriously furnished, the women are elaborately dressed. 1 February 1802
Hand-coloured etching and aquatint
- Production date
Height: 257 millimetres
Width: 357 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
A satire on the blood-curdling romances of 'Monk' Lewis and his school, cf. BMSat 9503. 'Tales of Wonder' by Lewis (contributions by Scott and Southey) appeared 1801. 'The Monk', which narrowly escaped prosecution for indecency, is, it is implied, unsuitable for family reading. Cf. BMSats 9942, 11609, 11610.
Later impressions (represented in the B.M. by the 1830 and 1851 reprints) have an inscription in the upper border: 'This attempt to describe the effects of the Sublime & Wonderful, is dedicated to M. G. Lewis Esqr, M.P.' (Lewis was M.P. for Hindon 1796-1802).
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 289. Wright and Evans, No. 514. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Reproduced, Amy Cruse, 'The Englishman and his books in the early nineteenth century', 1930, frontispiece; Klingender, 'Hogarth and English Caricature', 1944, p. 43.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1992 Jun-Nov, Essen, Villa Hugel, 'London 1800-1838'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number