Since 1763 the name 'Russborough' has been synonymous with collecting and dealing in fine art. In the closing decades of the last century the historic town of Port Hope has become home to Lord Russborough's Annex, which specialises in an individual mix of antique maps, paintings and prints.

While Lord Russborough's Annex features a great many works of museum calibre, we also offer a wonderful selection of prints priced at under $100.

Until the end of the nineteenth century, there were very few medicines physicians could prescribe that actually cured disease or affliction. It was an age of heroic medicine that consisted of “copious bleeding and massive doses of drugs.” In the following three etchings, artist James Gillray demonstrates three common therapies employed by physicians of the day to cure disease: bloodletting, purging and drowsines. Gillray’s use of vivid facial expressions also captures patients’ reaction to such treatments.

breathing a vein

James Gillray

1756 -1815

Hand tinted etching. Published by H. Humphrey, St James’s Street, London 28 Jan. 1804
Double matted, glazed gilt-wood frame. 10 1/8 x 7 ¼”  Frame 16 x 13”
Ref. JH1(203)/ALN/ s.anaa> ESL    PRICE CODE C

Bloodletting, or phlebotomy, had been a standard medical practice since antiquity. It entailed withdrawing a considerable amount of blood from a person in order to cure disease. Blood was thought to build up in excess and then stagnate in certain areas of the body. Removing the extra blood would restore the natural balance of the body. In this etching Gillray demonstrates venesection, which he calls “breathing a vein.” The title suggests that the procedure was a pleasant way to allow the vein a little air. The reality of the procedure was something else, as the cartoon suggests. A tourniquet was placed above the elbow, the artery in the forearm was punctured by a lancet, and the blood, gushing like a geyser, was captured in a bowl. Patients were often bled until they fainted. It was not uncommon for the procedure to be repeated several times over the course of treatment if the patient did not improve. In “Breathing a vein” the patient disdainfully looks away as the physician bleeds his arm. In this print we can see from his spurred boots that the doctor is probably a country physician as one would expect from a sketch provided by the country Rector of Elford, John Sneyd.

In 1778 Gillray became a student at the Royal Academy where he studied under Francesco Bartolozzi (1728-1815). James Gillray set himself up as a portrait painter in Little Newport Street but did not obtain many commissions. Therefore Gillray was forced to continue producing engravings for print shops. Gillray's first prints were chiefly devoted to social subjects but by 1782 he began to concentrate on political caricatures. His work was mainly sold by William Humphrey of Gerrard Street and S. W. Fores of Piccadilly.

After 1791 Gillray worked exclusively for Hannah Humphrey, the younger sister of William Humphrey of Gerrard Street. Gillray's engravings helped Humphrey become London's leading print-seller. In 1793 Gillray starting living in a room above Hannah Humphrey's shop in Old Bond Street. Gillray lived with Miss (often called Mrs) Humphrey during the entire period of his fame.

Following his death in 1815 George Cruikshank finished several of Gillray's unfinished peices.



taking physic

James Gillray

1756 -1815

Hand tinted etching. Published by H. Humphrey, St James’s Street, London 6 Feb.1800
Double matted, glazed gilt-wood frame. 9 5/8 x 6 ½ ” Frame 17 x 14”
Ref. JH3(203)/ALN/ s.anaa> ESL    SOLD   PRICE CODE C

The hand-colored etching, “Taking Physick,” humorously demonstrates the effects of taking laxatives to purge the body of harmful poisons. First, the grimace on the man’s face shows that the often bitter, astringent medicinal concoctions were not pleasing to the palate. Second, medicines were not meant to be taken only once, but repeatedly, in order to operate as much as 15 to 20 times. The goal was to completely flush out deleterious material from the system. Gillray draws a bottle of medicine in the patient’s hand and also two bottles on the mantle. The man fully experiences the purgative qualities of the medicine. He hasn’t even bothered to tuck in his shirttail or button the fly of his trousers since his last trip to the chamber pot.

A pinch of cephalic

A PINCH OF CEPHALIC a cure for Drowsiness
James Gillray

1756 -1815

Hand tinted etching. 510 Published by G. Humphrey, St James’s Street, London 6 Feb.1800
Double matted, glazed gilt-wood frame. 10 2/8 x 7 ¾” Frame 17 x 14”
Ref. JH2(203)/ALN/ s.anaa> ESL   SOLD   PRICE CODE C

A man is sitting between a fireplace (at left) and a small table (to right) on which are a pipe, decanter, and goblet; he sneezes violently after taking a pinch of snuff, a container of which he holds in his left hand. A dog lying between his legs looks up. The Parliamentary debates, even in those stirring times required an antidote against the influence of Morpheus.
George Crookshaank 1792-1878 was well known as an illustrator and caricaturist in his day and finished many of the illustrations left unfinished at the ime of Gillray's death.

Cruickshank the Cholic

George Cruikshank

1792 -1878

Hand tinted etching. Published by Thos Mclean 20 Haymarket London Aug.1st 1835
Museum matted, gilt line, glazed, gilt-wood frame. 7¾ x 9 7/8” Frame 14 x 16 1/2”
Ref. JH4(203)/DVL/ s.anaa> RLN  SOLD  PRICE CODE  B

A woman suffering the pain of cholic; illustrated by demons tugging on a rope wound around her stomach. On the wall hangs a picture of an interior with a disreputable-looking woman drinking.
Coloured etching after G. Cruikshank after Captain F. Marryat. Lettering contains the anchor pictogram denoting attribution to Captain Marryat.and was first published in 1819

George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was an English artist, caricaturist and illustrator.
In 1811 Cruikshank gained fame with a series of political caricatures he created for the periodical The scourge, a monthly expositor of imposture and folly. Cruikshank published political cartoons including a successful series of pamphlets created with William Hone, until 1825 and began illustrating books in 1820. He is thought to have illustrated over 850 books for adults and children, including works by Dickens, Ainsworth, Thackeray, and the Grimm brothers. His work, wrote one reviewer of a biography of Cruikshank, "recorded, commented on, and satirized his times to such an extent that they have frequently been used to represent the age." He is considered by some to be one of the best humorists that Britain ever produced. Cruikshank was influenced by English political cartoonist, James Gillray and Cruikshank finished several of Gillray’s pieces that were left unfinished at the time of his death in 1815.