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A smuggling machine or a convenient Cos(au)way for a man in miniature

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • A smuggling machine or a convenient Cos(au)way for a man in miniature
  • Description

    A portrait of Richard Cosway, R.A., standing under the wide hooped petticoat of a tall lady, his wife, Maria, who puts her arms round him. His head and shoulders emerge from the petticoat slightly below the level of her waist; his face is in profile looking upwards. His right hand clutches her cloak, his left, is round her waist. She wears a flat ribbon-trimmed hat, and looks down at him saying, "Tis geting nothing - nay - tisgeting worse than nothing."
    In the background, on; the wall (right), is a picture of a little man wearing a bag-wig and sword, climbing up a ladder which rests on the breast of a woman. Beneath it is engraved:

    "Lowliness is Young Ambitions Ladder,
    Whereto the climber upward turns his Face
    But when he once attains the upmost round
    He then unto the Ladder turns his back,
    Looks unto the clouds - scornin [sic] the base degrees
    By which he did assend.
    Shak. Jul. Caesar." 1 January 1782 Etching with use of the rocker


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1782
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 277 millimetres
    • Width: 236 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered: "Publish'd Jany 1782 by H. Humphry New Bond Street N° 18."
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
    This represents Cosway climbing to fame, the woman being either Angelica Kauffmann or the Duchess of Devonshire. J. T. Smith, 'Nollekens and his Times', ed. W. Whitten, ii. 329, where the print is reproduced.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 6102 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British 1782 Unmounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    1995 Aug-Oct, Edinburgh, SNPG, Regency Artists
    1995/6 Nov-Feb, London, NPG, Regency Artists

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat)  Etching with use of the rocker

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat) Etching with use of the rocker

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA74034

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