- Museum number
May-Day `Jack in the Green` procession; before a large town house, two fashionably dressed ladies, arm-in-arm, accompanied by a gentleman who holds up his walking stick as if to ward off three smaller chimney sweep figures, two holding brush and shovel, one of whom begs for money to be put in his shovel, the other wearing a crown on his hat, with the third either a girl or a boy in female dress holding a spoon, behind them is a frame-work covered with greenery (a jack in the green). 1783
Brush drawing in grey wash, with pen and ink and watercolour, over graphite; varnished, image includes a wash border
- Production date
Height: 294 millimetres
Width: 275 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Nigel Tattersfield (email Dec 2020):
'Your comment upon the three sweeps proposes that the figure to the far left is a climbing boy dressed as a girl. While this is in theory possible (despite the figure's demeanour and physique having all the signs of a girl), the term 'climbing boys' (for young sweeps) included young girls. They were probably more numerous in the trade than generally acknowledged. Some evidence of this can be seen in the parliamentary bill of 2 April 1819, 'For the Better Regulation of Chimney Sweepers and their Apprentices' which included the specific clause 'girls not to climb whatsoever'. (The bill failed.). There are numerous references to climbing girls in James Montgomery's influential 'Chimney-Sweeper's Friend, and Climbing Boy's Album', (1824), notably pp.xiv, 102, 211. 212, 228.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
The modern inlay mount of this drawing bears the stamp of National Revenue Canada Customs and Excise Parcel Post, Mar 21 1960, Victoria, B C
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number