WHEATLEY, Francis engraved Sam. ALIPRANDI
[Cries of London] New Mackrel New Mackrel, Maquerux Maquereux Frais et Gros
London: Published by Colnaghi & Co., No. 132 Pall Mall, Jan 1, 1814. Stipple engraving. Printed on laid paper. Later version printed by Colnaghi in 1814. In excellent condition. Image size: 12 3/16 x 9 1/2 inches. Sheet size: 20 11/16 x 14 inches. Plate mark: 16 x 11 1/2 inches.
A charming image of mackerel seller in London based on Wheatley's famous series, "The Cries of London".
The "Cries of London" was a recurring theme in English printmaking for over three centuries. These colourful prints form a visual record of London's "lower orders", the peddlers, charlatans, street hawkers, milkmaids, and grocers who made their living on the city streets. They give the viewer a glimpse of a long forgotten London where tradesmen would advertise their wares with a musical shout or a melodic rhyme. Different versions of the "Cries" vary in tone from idealistic visions of contented street vendors to satirical caricatures of humorous urban figures. One of the most famous series of "London Cries" is the group of pretty pictures executed by Francis Wheatley. Wheatley's series was immensely popular and enjoyed a long period of success in the English print shops. Between 1792 and 1795 Wheatley exhibited 14 paintings of the "Cries" at the Royal Academy. The pictures attracted a great deal of attention at the exhibition and Colnaghi & Co. quickly agreed to publish a series of engravings after Wheatley's famous series. Only thirteen of the fourteen paintings were engraved and they were offered for sale individually or in a portfolio collection. The prints, which were executed in stipple, were engraved by some the most noted engravers in England; artists such as Luigi Schiavonetti, Giovanni Vendramini and Thomas Gaugain all contributed their work to the series. Complete collections of the "Cries" remained immensely popular, and by 1910 they were fetching more than James Audubon's folio "Birds of America" at auction. This lovely print depicts a mackerel seller offering a selection of fish to two kitchen maids. The mackerel was the commonest and most popular fish to be sold by eighteenth century street hawkers in London. In comparison to other street hawkers, mackerel sellers were granted the privilege of selling their wares on Sundays. This attractive print is a later version printed by Colnaghi in 1814 with very minor changes to the composition.