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Miseries Miscellaneous After the first, or prelusive squall of a fractious brat, which you had taken in your arms, to please its mother – the horrible pause during which you perceive that it is collecting breath to burst out with a fresh and recruited scream, that is to thrill through your marrow; – yet you know that, strange to say, if you throttle it, the law will throttle you!

Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)


Signed and inscribed with title

Pen ink and watercolour

5 x 6 ¾ inches

'Library Sets of Esteemed Authors, First Editions and Colored-Plate Books, Sporting Books and Prints, Including the Library of the Late James Buchanan Brady (Widely Known as "Diamond Jim" Brady)', American Art Galleries, Madison Square South, New York, 3 & 4 December 1917, Lot 469, No 11

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', Chris Beetles Gallery, 2019, No 5

Soon following its publication in 1806, James Beresford’s The Miseries of Human Life became ‘a minor classic in the satirical literature of the day … dozens of editions were published, and printmakers rushed to illustrate their own versions of life’s miseries’ (as described on the website of Princeton University Art Museum). Prominent among those artists and printmakers stood Rowlandson, who, almost immediately, responded to Beresford’s text with a number of drawings, some of which he etched and had published by Rudolph Ackermann. Then, in 1808, Ackermann issued a volume collecting together 50 of these etchings. However, a number of the others, equally good, including the present drawing, were never etched and have been overlooked.

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