Democratic Leveling;—Alliance a la Francoise;—or—The Union of the Coronet & Clyster-pipe by James Gillray, 1796.
Lady Lucy Stanhope was the niece of William Pitt and the sister of the more famous Lady Hester Stanhope. At the age of 16 she married a local medical man, Thomas Taylor of Sevenoaks. Her father, the radical minded Earl Stanhope (often known as “Citizen Stanhope”) is shown wearing a Jacobin bonnet rouge and no breeches. Opposition leaders Fox and Sheridan officiate.
In fact, although the wedding did take place by special licence at the family seat of Chevening, Stanhope was against the match. To quote Tresham Lever (House of Pitt, 1947), “Lord Stanhope’s democratic principles did not cover such a mésalliance,” and the young couple were afterwards not received at the house. Luckily Pitt was on their side and
gave the finger to Stanhopeprovided them with an income by making Taylor Controller-General in the Customs.
The marriage was apparently a happy one. Lucy died in 1814, aged 34, having borne at least eight children (seven surviving). Thomas Taylor lived until 1841 and did not, as far as I know, remarry.
Female curiosity by James Gillray, c1778.XJames Gillray’s 1778 portrait of “female curiosity” shows a woman staring at her buttocks, which are adorned with a stylish wig perched on her hips, by looking over her shoulder at a mirror her kneeling servant holds. The portrait indicts women’s self-exploration as decadent fashion. Gillray designates female sexuality as peeking, yet his print identifies the spectator’s gaze with the woman’s.
Exhibition Stare Case
This print depicts visitors to the Royal Academy falling headlong down the stairs of Somerset House, which is now the Courtauld Institute of Art. The architect who designed the building, Sir William Chambers, claimed it ‘a momument to the taste and elegancy of His Majesty’s reign’.
Extract from the British Museum:
Rowlandson suggests that the architect was more interested in the visual effect of his staircase than in its practical utility. He also plays with two commonplace observations about exhibition audiences: that some female spectators came to be seen as much as to see and that some male spectators were more interested in living flesh than in painted nudes.
The Lovers’ Strategy or Fashionable Grooming, 1770 by an anonymous artist—This etching is a satire on the ridiculous hairstyles of this period. A Frenchwoman is kissed by her elderly husband, while little cherubs climb a ladder up her hair to deliver letters to her young lover. (via)
The Stranger’s Guide; or, the London Sharper Detected: being a Complete Exposure of all the Frauds of London, practised by Bawds, Bullies, Fortune-Tellers, Footpads, Gamblers, Gossips, Highwaymen, Housebreakers, Jilts, Kidnappers, Ring-Droppers, Pimps, Procuresses, Pickpockets, Quacks, Sharpers, Swindlers, Smugglers, Shop-lifters, Street-Robbers, Trappers, Waggon Hunters, Women of Pleasure, &c. &c. &c. (via Spitalfields Life)