Marcellus Laroon’s The Cryes of the City of London drawne after the life were originally published in 1687 by Pierce Tempest, and were reprinted by him in 1688, 1689 and 1709. In 1711, 1713, 1731 or 1733 they were reprinted with the addition of numbers by Henry Overton. In c. 1760 Robert Sayer modified and reprinted them in serial parts and they were finally reprinted in 1821 by H.R. Laurie; there were also pirated editions. The publication history of the Cryes is thus very complex.
This set of c. 1740, in miniature format, was published by John Bowles who was trading from the Black Horse in Cornhill from c. 1740. Bowles acknowledges Laroon as his source, whereas many publishers did not. This set has 72 images, 12 of which are original. Despite its small format, it is unlikely that it was intended for the juvenile market. A comparison between the ‘original’ plate (in the republication by Overton) and this re-engraved set can be seen in the print Buy a fine table basket, which appears in the adjoining section (no. 126). The title page includes the French translation, but the small format precludes the usual translation into Italian.
The title page and letters a) to d) are based on the original prints by Marcellus Laroon.
However, the set is consistently engraved in the mirror image of the original Laroons (with the exception of the text), the images having been copied straight onto the copper plate, without being reversed.
The image is based on the original first title page of The Cryes (there were two title pages in Laroon’s original).
Douce Portfolio 139 (54)
Pins came in three grades and two colours (silver and black, for mourning). Although fifteen sizes were available, street sellers sold only the commonest types, buying them by the ounce and mounting them on cards. Although pins were used in quantity, pin sellers were among the poorest street criers.
Douce Portfolio 139 (89)
See no. 126 for caption
Douce Portfolio 139 (102)
From c. 1635, the glass trade in London was controlled by the Company of Glass-sellers who prosecuted illegal hawkers. However, novelty singing glasses were probably excluded from this control. The shorter glasses in the hawker’s left hand are ‘singing glasses’ or ‘music glasses,’ none of which survive today. The longer glasses were fitted with mouthpieces with reeds, and were called ‘glass trumpets’ or ‘glass horns.’
Douce Portfolio 139 (100)
The following images did not appear in any of the editions of Laroon.
Scotch cloth was ‘a textile fabric resembling lawn, but cheaper; said to have been made of nettle fibre’ (OED), while Russia cloth was a coarse linen.
Douce Portfolio 139 (65)
Spectacles were sold by hawkers in both town and country. In the 18th century, opticians’ skills were improving in adapting lenses to specific sight. However, much damage was done by inappropriate spectacles sold by hawkers.
Douce Portfolio 139 (99)
This enterprising seller of wigs has established a makeshift stall in Middle Row, ‘Holbourn’. His wares relate to those of nos. 3 and 213
Douce Portfolio 139 (95)
There is an unpublished sketch for a seller of artichokes in the Laroon manuscripts at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, but it is unlikely that this would have been known to Bowles. It bears little relation to the image in this set. The selling of vegetables was, of course, seasonal. How long this poor woman could struggle with her load is questionable.
Douce Portfolio 139 (64)
© Bodleian Library 2001