Aug 192016

I have always loved this print by James Gillray showing a fashionably dressed couple trying to cross a London street while avoiding the puddles. It appeared in 1782 and shows Her Ladyship with her hair fashionably plaited and hidden under an enormous hat. She is lifting up her skirt to reveal  her delicate  pair of pins – no doubt because dragging the skirt along the ground would mean that it would immediately act like blotting paper. She has enough ruffles and bows on that outfit to curtain a whole suite of hotel rooms….

Crossing a Dirty Street: 18th centuryThe man is wearing a tricorn hat over his powdered wig, with its be-ribboned queue hanging down at the back. He looks immaculate in his long jacket, showing a shapely pair of  calf muscles encased in white silk stockings, and with his hand elegantly held out to provide support for the Lady.

It is shown courtesy of the Museum of London site, and is entitled ‘Crossing a Dirty Street.’ It is beautifully observed, and just shows that Master James Gillray wasn’t always being cruel….even if this is a bit of an exception!


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