Friday, April 13, 2012

Negrophobia: Venus and Adonis, c1789

The London publisher, G. S. Tregear, who called his business, "a Humorous and Sporting Print Shop," produced several series of caricatures during the 1830s. In 1834, Tregear's published Tregear's Black Jokes for which W. Summers produced a series of colored, numbered, and titled caricatures drawn in a grotesque style to depict black social life. The scrapbook includes the following: No. 3-"Marriage a la Mode"; No. 4-"The Christening"; No. 8-"The Breaking Up"; No. 10-"The Concert"; No. 11-"Miss Whites birth-day Party"; No. 12-"The Lubber Quarrel"; No. 15-"Cinderella and the Black Prince"; No. 18-"The Advertisement"; and No. 19-"The Wedding Feast." Other caricatures published by Tregear, (artists unknown) are included in the scrapbook, some from another series called "Scraps" mocking both town and country life in England. []

Many illustrations cannot be identified by artist, but there are a variety of pieces that clearly suggest the taste and interests of the English public in the early nineteenth century. Several cartoons are included that spoof the manners and dress of the various classes of society. Others are references to politics and sports. There are several beautiful hand-colored engravings of women posed in foreign costume and of hunters and dogs in the country. Pastoral scenes and views of children, drawn in black and white, are rich in detail.

The collection is both a view of English life and culture in the early nineteenth century and a study of the way in which the new process of lithography was used for illustration. []

Miss Whites Birthday Party, from Tregears Black Jokes, by Hunt, published by T.S. Tregear, London, 1834

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