Giovanni VENDRAMINI after Francis WHEATLEY
THE CRIES OF LONDON: Hot Spice Gingerbread Smoking Hot! (Vendramini, 1796)
13 x 16 inches
Stipple engraving by Vendramini, printed in exquisite coloured inks and completed by hand. Published by Colaghi in London 1796.
Few images have succeeded in capturing the essence of Georgian London more than Wheatley's evocative series of London Cries. Wheatley was born in Covent Garden in 1747 and grew up with the sounds and smells of the market. He would have been familiar with street life in all its diversity and it is a testament to his affection for these hawkers that he lavished his talents on creating such a wonderful pictorial record of their trade. He produced a series of 14 oil paintings that were exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1792 and 1795 and were met with huge public acclaim. Unfortunately, when he was elected to the RA in 1790 it was in preference to the king's favourite and as a consequence a promising career as a portrait artist was instantly curtailed as he fell out of favour at court and received no further commissions from the aristocracy. By 1793 Wheatley was insolvent and when he died in 1801 his funeral costs were met by the RA. Despite his fall from grace his Cries of London continued to be popular with the public at large and were soon being published in engraved form by Colnaghi and Co. of Pall Mall. It is these beautiful engravings that have brought him the reputation that he so richly deserves.