- Museum number
- Object: The Beggars Opera
Satire on Gay's "Beggar's Opera". In the foreground a group of animal-headed singers portraying the principal characters are shown on an outdoor stage beneath which Apollo and a muse are lying, a lyre and guitar beside them. In front of the stage a group of musicians play simple instruments: bagpipes, a salt box, a jew's harp, a dulcimer, a bladder and string.To the left, a group of noblemen raise their arms admiring the performance; a crowd of women stand on the right, and in front of them a fat butcher and another man are seen in shadow. Behind the stage, to left, theatre boxes are crowded with an audience chiefly of ladies, and below is a wall hung with ballads against which two men urinate and defecate. In the centre background, is a street (perhaps intended as a backcloth) with an inn sign and gallows. To the right, is a conventional stage on which the Italian opera is evidently being performed and men appear to be pressing money on a woman singer. An angel carrying a ribbon lettered "Harmony" flies off at top right, and above is a ribbon lettered "et cantare pares et respndere parate". Four lines of verse beneath. 1728
- Production date
Height: 231 millimetres (cropped)
Width: 248 millimetres (cropped)
- Curator's comments
- The angel is derived from one in Rembrandt's "Archangel Raphael quitting Tobias and his Family" (Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv.no.1736 (Bredius 503); see also BM Satires 1871.
The copper-plate was later in the possession of John Boydell (annotation by F G Stephens in a copy of BM Satires in the Department).
The cropping of the image makes the state difficult to ascertain, however the lettering of the verses in a large hand shows that it precedes the neater lettering of the fourth state.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: The Beggar's Opera
- Acquisition date
- 1827 (before)
- Acquisition notes
- See comment on S,2.1.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number