A late 18th century pen and ink drawing on card depicting a reluctant sailor being pushed into his work, whilst other members of the crew look on, with speech bubbles all around. Signed in a hard to decipher spidery hand lower right with Fecit 1745.
Beneath is the handwritten inscription:
"Rushing an Irishman"
'Scene taken on the Poop of the "first of the new line" in order to throw out in its Brightest Colouring the play ........ Spirit of the Age' . W.G.C. No it doesn't make a lot of sense to me either.
I believe this cartoon was taken from a scrapbook (a small amount of decoupage on the reverse suggests this), and was probably drawn after the artist had seen a satirical play.
British drama grew at a huge rate in the 18th century, in the kinds of entertainment available, audience figures and the number and size of theatres. Slapstick comedy became extremely popular. The Georgian audience were noisily engaged in the shows, with booing and cheering, eating and drinking. heckling and chatting amongst themselves. A mad house!
Cartoons about current social or political events were popular, as was mocking symbolic figures representing a type of person (John Bull for example, being the archetypal Englishmen).
Anti-Irish sentiment can be found in works by several 18th century writers such as Voltaire, who depicted the Catholic Irish as savage and backward, and therefore deserving to be ruled over by the British. Anti Irish sentiment did though go back a lot further and stemmed from Catholic vs Protestant enmity as much as anything else. In this cartoon it is the Irish who are depicted as slow and lazy, but note it appears that the sailor is both pushing and pulling back the young chap, who one must assume is the Irishman. I think you probably had to be there to get the full joke!
British Folk Art School 18th century.
Framed in a moulded maple frame, with wear. Glazed.
Sight: 14” x 10½” (36cm x 27cm)
Frame: 18 " x 14” ( 46cm x 36cm)
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