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The Five Senses / Gustus

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Gustus

    Title (series)

    • The Five Senses
  • Description

    Taste, shown as a young woman smoking a pipe. 1640s

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1635-1650
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 188 millimetres
    • Width: 127 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title and four lines of verse: with publication line 'London, printed and sold by P.Stent in Gilt Spur-Street betweene Newgate and Pye Corner'.
  • Curator's comments

    (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.64)
    This is the first of a set of five plates of the Senses (1847-7-23-1 to 5). The set was pirated by some anonymous engraver working for Stent from Glover's set which William Peake had originally published in the 1630s (Hind III 247.63: Glover's original set is bound into 166 c.2(1)). An earlier set of the Five Senses was made for Thomas Jenner by Jan Barra between 1623-7 (Hind III 98.11).
    The five plates show a typical group of the women who populate so many Caroline era sets of prints. They are dressed in the most up-to-date fashions, and their poses and actions display their immodesty and dare-devil approach to life. They are reinforced by the bawdy texts below each. One is smoking, regarded by many then, as now, an odious vice. James I wrote a 'Counterblast to tobacco', and a proclamation by him of June 1620 began 'Whereas we out of the dislike wee had of the use of tobacco, tending to a generall and new corruption both of men's bodies and manners ...' (J.F.Larkin & P.L.Hughes, Stuart Royal Proclamations, I 1973, no.203).
    It remains a question quite how prints such as this were used. Their present-day rarity shows that they never formed part of print collections, although the decades that they stayed in production and the wear on the plates prove their enormous popularity. They must have been sold for their subjects; one can well image prints like this stuck on the walls of taverns and mess-rooms, as the pin-ups of their day.

    Literature: M.Jones 'The Print in Early Modern: An Historical Survey', New Haven and London, 2010, pp. 36.


  • Bibliography

    • Globe 1985 457 (copy) bibliographic details
    • Hind 1952-64 III.247.63 (copy) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIc Mounted Imp)

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    The series registered as 1847,0723.1 to 113 was purchased from W B Tiffin for £98 15s the lot. Unfortunately when the register numbers were written on the back of the prints, they were numbered either 0713 or 0723, apparently at random. The 0713 and 0723 runs dovetail together to form a complete series, though in some cases the final number is not the one given in the register. It is too late to alter so many wrong numbers, so the mistaken numbers will have to continue to serve as the register numbers, but this note has been added to each of the records in the sequence to explain the position. (AVG, 2016)

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Taste, shown as a young woman smoking a pipe.  1640s  Engraving


Taste, shown as a young woman smoking a pipe. 1640s Engraving

Image description



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