18 November 2014
AN ALBUM OF EROTIC WATERCOLOURS, painted on card, England, mid-19th century.
Folio (240 x 181 mm). 34 watercolours, many captioned, depicting a variety of playful, witty and fantastical scenes. (Marginal spotting throughout.) 19th-century black half roan binding (edges rubbed and scuffed).
An eclectic album of erotic and tongue-in-cheek scenes unified by a certain jovial light-heartedness. There are different artists at work, but their inspiration can evidently be found in the satirical caricatures of James Gillray (1756-1815) and Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827). The vignettes range from the solitary erect man tugging away in resigned desperation in 'It's better than nothing at all' to the phallus-headed ostrich chasing the naked large-bosomed native in 'The Bird o' Freedom'; the fat man standing before the mirror in 'Though lost to sight, to memory dear' and the Lilliputians clambering over Gulliver's gargantuan member in an unexpected depiction of Gulliver's travels.
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