A Pig and A Pullet
A 17-Year-Old stirs up the Art Scene
Newton, Richard (about 1777 – London 1798). Which Way Shall I Turn Me. The reverend in a wicked affliction: on the right the usual smoking roasting pig together with the bottle, on the left, invitingly stretched out on the sofa, a youthful beauty full of temptations. Originally colored engraving, partly with stipple, for William Holland in London. Inscribed: Richard Newton del / London, Pub. July 1. 1794 by Willm. Holland, No. 50, Oxford Street., otherwise as above and below resp. 9¾ × 12¼ in (24.8 × 31.2 cm).
With caption: “In Holland’s Exhibition Rooms, may be seen the largest Collections of Humorous Prints in Europe. – Admittance 1. Shill.”. – Figuring as Newton’s probably most recent publication in his watercolor view of just that exhibition present sheet – the title is taken from the third act of John Gay’s Beggars Opera –
parodies the clergy’s double carnal desire
as popular target of the unpolitical satire
in the character of
Macheath between Polly & Lucy .
Lucy was the daughter of “Tiger Brown”. An otherwise not inscribed anonymous reverse copy of the same size prefixes the title by a drastic “A Pig and A Pullet or …”.
“ Holland was one of the print publishers who, in little more than a decade, had succeeded in establishing the singly issued satire, hand-coloured with transparent watercolour washes
– as then also present one –
as one of the most important products of the London print trade. He had been fortunate in finding Newton, a fine draughtsman and a rapid worker who was capable of transforming an idea or a rough sketch supplied by Holland or one of his cronies into an amusing and saleable print. For his part, Newton was lucky to have come into contact with Holland, a man of literary tastes who provided many ideas for prints, and who had brought him forward at an age when most youths were obscure apprentices. Newton peopled his picture of (Holland’s 1794) exhibition room with a lively group of people … some are shown enjoying the range of humorous prints; these include such topics as … the gluttony of the clergy … In the words of Dorothy George, who just before the Second World War catalogued those of Newton’s prints that were then in the British Museum, he had ‘two manners, one grotesque and bold, the other realistic, conventional, and rather charming’. Newton was a master of the burlesque, with a command of exaggerated expressions and wonderful movement, with an extraordinary vigorous and inventive style … Newton’s prints played an important part in the development of this genre … In three years Newton had made his mark in London. His satires, if not the most subtle of those being produced, were probably the funniest and most outrageous … The 1998 bicentenary of the death of this remarkable youth is an appropriate moment to look at what he achieved, to set it against the background of his times, and to examine some of the questions which his career raises: for example, the extent of debts to other artists, and how he was able to emerge as an individual talent at such an early age ”
(David S. Alexander, Richard Newton and English Caricature in the 1790s, 1998, p. 7 ff.).
1791 Holland (1757-1815) published the first works with the name of the then just 14-year-old, whose œuvre comprised at his early death just seven years later nearly 300 singly published satiric prints as well as more than 80 book illustrations, among which for Laurence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey (1795) and Fielding’s Tom Jones published posthumously by Holland 1799. During Holland’s imprisonment in Newgate 1793/4 for political attacks on crown and administration under William Pitt’s ‘Reign of Terror’ – i. a. suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act and ban of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man – Newton carried on the business to a certain degree. – On the back a few color stains and marginal tape from previous framing.
Offer no. 15,501 / EUR 730. / export price EUR 694. (c. US$ 839.) + shipping
“ At this time we are on our boat … I hope you extend the same faith in me as I have in you in paying for this sizable sum in advance (sight unseen) in the expectation of delivery … Best regards ”
(Mr. P. C., July 22, 2002)