- Museum number
- Object: City scavengers cleansing the London streets of impurities!!
The Lord Mayor and others are forcibly removing prostitutes from the streets of the City. On the left is a cart, inscribed 'Magdalen and Female Penitentiary Asylum 1816' and filled with straw, into which women are being pitched. An elderly alderman lifts up a pretty girl while her ankles are seized by Waithman (left), identified by a letter at his feet: 'To Mr Waithman'. She says to him: "Come Mr Dimity mouth! what are you squinting at, be modest I beg of you." He says: "Bundle her over! but be carefull of her Linnen Drapery as we prevent her from getting another yard." Curtis, wearing the sailor's dress of No. 11353, &c., uses a long-handled shovel to throw a young woman on to the cart ; she lands on her back, exclaiming "O! you Wretch." He says: "I'll pick a couple for my own private use D—n me!" A paper projects from his pocket: 'Corporat . . Dinner on Thur.' A woman in the cart scowls down at him, saying, "Bad luck to your Turtle Nose." Another says: "I say you there with the garnish! we are all in the Straw here, so I hope you'll take care to supply us with caudle we can get some at Spillers! as we pass." The principal figure is the Lord Mayor, Wood, wearing his gown and chain, who is vigorously pushing a woman towards the cart with a broom, saying, "Go along you little Devil you nasty beast, you bad girl, I'm resolv'd to have none of your fornication in the City! Shove her up Billy [Curtis]! (what Popularity this will give me!)." She exclaims: "O! you Barbarian to treat a poor Thing in this manner you must be Stone or Wood I'm sure." On the ground is a paper: 'By particular desire of the Society for the suppression of Vice D of K—t in the chair Ordered—that City Officers do keep the Streets clear of common Prostitutes & other disorderly persons—Wood Mayor.'
In the background (right) is part of the façade of the Mansion House. On the balustrade in front of the steps stands the Recorder, Sir John Silvester, reading the 'Riot Act.' Behind him is a bill: 'Theatre Royal—Busy Body . . . The laughable Farce of Silvester Dagger Wood.' The 'riot' is being made by some constables just below him, who provoke the resistance of women whom they try to arrest. One has seized a fat constable's staff, and shakes him by the collar, saying, "O! D—n you." A burly woman shakes her fist in a constable's face, saying: "you may be D—d." He says: "I'm a City Constable you B—h." Another accosts a woman approaching from the left: "I'm a Constable!! pray who are you Miss!!" She answers: "I'm a modest Woman & be D—d to you!" The corner houses on the left are placarded respectively 'Corn[hill]' and 'Lombard Street'.
c. November 1816
- Production date
Height: 256 millimetres
Width: 386 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
An attack on Wood's campaign against prostitutes in the City, see No. 12813, &c. Curtis the Tory, like Waithman the Radical, are both attacked. For the Duke of Kent, 'Joseph Surface' to his sisters, cf. No. 12624. The Recorder, John Silvester, had notoriously harsh and reactionary views on crime and punishment, cf. his evidence to the Committee on the Police of the Metropolis, 'Examiner', 1816, p. 829. Wood and Silvester are combined in 'Sylvester Daggerwood' (the 'ham' actor), under which name Colman's 'New Hay at the Old Market' was acted, see No. 11715. The Society for the Suppression of Vice was founded in 1802; it was satirized by Byron in 'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers', 1809.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number