- Museum number
- Object: A row at a cock and hen club
Photograph of an etching and aquatint by Richard Newton, published 1 March 1798. Figures in violent action are grouped round an oval table, which forms the centre of the design. Thieves and young prostitutes are raided by a body of aged watchmen who advance from the left with staves and lanterns. On the extreme left are the arms of a constable with a crowned staff, who seizes the neck-cloth of a ruffian with a bludgeon. The table is dominated by the chairwoman, a comely girl, who sits with glass held high, one arm across the shoulder of a sleeping Bill Sykes with a bludgeon, one foot on the table, her leg across the shoulders of a sleeping foot-pad with a pistol. The men threaten the invaders with pistols, a blunderbuss, a chair, a tankard, &c. One, who uses his pistol as a bludgeon, has on the back of his coat the device of a man hanging from a gibbet [The same device is on the back of a carter in a plate (by JT Smith) to 'The Scum Uppermost...', 1802, see vol. VIII]. There are two other pretty young women, drunk, an older woman, and three fat viragoes standing (left) absorbed in a violent quarrel. There is a low raftered roof.
- Production date
- 1938 (c.)
Height: 155 millimetres
Width: 200 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
Francis Place (b. 1771) describes the cock-and-hen clubs (which he frequented as an apprentice), e.g. a famous one in a public house in the Savoy. Upon one end of a long table was 'a chair filled by a youth, upon the other end another chair filled by a Girl. The amusements were drinking, smoaking - swearing - and singing flash songs...'. He writes in 1824: 'There are still in some parts of the town Cock and Hen Clubs, but these are in the lowest and most disreputable neighbourhoods and are attended by none but disreputable people mostly young thieves.' (Autobiography, BL Add. MSS. 35142, ff. 140, 140b.) For 'row', cf. No. 8011.
Included in this catalogue as George's and Alexander's descriptions are based on this photograph, the BM does not hold the print. Various inscriptions on verso, including the British Museum reference 4501. The original print was in 1938 in the collection of Minto Wilson; this record photograph was acquired in August 1938.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number