This comical painting illustrates a scene from Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, the author's second play, which debuted at the Covent Garden Theatre on 15 March 1773. The narrative was based on an embarrassing anecdote from Goldsmith's own student days in Ireland, when he was tricked into believing the local squire's house was an inn and brashly ordered dinner and a night's lodging. In the play, Tony Lumpkin, a playboy son of the wealthy Hardcastle family, dupes two travelers named Marlow and Hastings into believing his home to be a public house. The title She Stoops to Conquer refers to Tony's sister Kate Hardcastle, who, as part of the scheme, pretends to be the barmaid in order to win the hero Marlow, who has a fear of upper-class ladies.
The present lot will be sold together with a copy of the Royal Academy catalogue from 1983, signed by Roberston Davies.