The present work is part of a series of drawings of London tradesmen and women which Sandby worked on in 1759 for a projected publication, London Cries, done from ye Life.
Sets of engravings of itinerant performers, hawkers and traders had been popular in Europe for centuries and ballads incorporating their street cries have been performed since the 15th Century. In 1688 Marcellus Laroon the Elder first published his Cryes of the City of London, and these proved so popular they were regularly reissued throughout the 18th Century. They were issued in a revised state with changes to the costumes and faces by Louis-Philippe Boitard in 1750.
Only one set of twelve images of London Cries was published. Yet, Sandby produced numerous others. The present lot was formerly part of an almost complete album which was dispersed in These Rooms in 1965, and a number of drawings for the Cries are now in public institutions.