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There’s Nothing New about a Pretty Barmaid….

Another Carington Bowles print, this time based on a painting by John Collet and shown courtesy of the British Museum:

It shows the scene in a tavern where half a dozen men are eagerly  jostling to attract the attention of the attractive woman behind the bar.

I love the detail, the dog urinating on a copy of ‘The Gazetter Extraordinary’ on the floor while a man on the left, on tip-toes, reads a copy of a paper called the “Public Ledger”. On the extreme right a bespectacled man reads the “Morning Post”. Another dog stands on its hind legs, eager not to miss any of the excitement, while a man in military uniform, eating what looks like jelly or a custard from a glass with a teaspoon, looks intently at the barmaid. She wears a spectacular hat and is seen serving behind the bar, at the rear of which numerous glass and pottery bowls are displayed.

The hand-coloured mezzotint was published in July 1778. And just to show how different the print looks when finished by a different colourist, here is the same print in the possession of the Colonial Williamsburg Museum:

I actually prefer the Colonial Williamsburg version – but then again, I am biased. CW have kindly invited me back to give a talk at their week-long 18th Century seminar in early 2022. The theme is virtue and vice. And no, let’s just say that I will not be talking about virtue. Vice? Well, that’s another matter…

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