“Bachelor’s Fare – or Bread and Cheese with kisses” – a quotation from Jonathan Swift.
The quotation gave rise to a number of Eighteenth Century illustrations, and here are three:
The first one, by John Collet, appears on the Port Cities site and was first published in November 1773. The original is with the National Martime Museum.
It shows an apparently innocent scene of a couple sitting at a table eating bread and cheese. Things start to get amorous, and the sailor is slipping coins into the lady’s pocket – buying her favours. In the background on the wall a picture of two ships side by side has the caption “The Free Briton closely engaged with the charming Sally”.
Version Number Two appears on the Library of Congress site:
The site gives the explanation:
“Print shows a man, seated at a table, embracing and kissing a woman; around the table are seated three women; a fourth, carrying a tankard of beer, enters through a door on the right; on the table are bread and cheese, a visual reference to a quote by Jonathan Swift, ‘Bachelors fare; bread and cheese, and kisses.’ Two illustrations are on the wall in the background, one of a church, and the other of a swarm of bees around a hive”.
My favourite, with a fascinating amount of detail of the interior of an Eighteenth Century tavern, is the final one, a cartoon by Rowlandson. It appears on the Lewis Walpole site and was first published in 1813, but is an almost mirror-image of his earlier version entitled “A kiss in the kitchen”.
The site describes the scene as “A young man with a grotesquely long chin sits in a high back chair, kissing a pretty young woman who stands between his legs. Behind him a dog has his paws on the cloth-covered table on which is laid cheese and bread; a cat drinks from a pitcher on the ground. Through the door on the right, a fat older man sits on a stool, smoking his pipe as he looks up at another pretty girl. On the wall hangs his gun and game; above them hangs a bird in a cage”.
The young man with the grotesquely long chin reminds me of a younger Bruce Forsyth (surely he wasnt around THAT long ago!).