Francis Wheatley (1747-1801) created these sublime images of street sellers that – although seen at the time as of little consequence beside his aristocratic portraits – are now the works upon which his reputation rests. Born in Covent Garden,Wheatley was ideally qualified to portray these hawkers because he grew up amongst them and their cries, echoing in the streets around the market. You may recognise the old stone pillars of the market buildings that still stand today. However, these pictures are far from social reportage as we understand it, there isa certain similarity between many of the women portrayed in these pictures, for whom it is believed Mrs. Wheatley – herself a painter and exhibitor at the Royal Academy – was the model. Look again, and you will also see that variants on the same ginger and white terrier occur throughout these images too.Wheatley was well served by his engravers who created the prints which brought recognition for his “Cries of London,” as the most beautiful and most popular series of prints on this subject of all time.Wheatley's series was immensely popular and enjoyed a long period of success in the English print shops.
Ten titles [of 13] as follows:
Plate 1. Two bunches a penny Primroses, two bunches a penny. L Schiavonetti snr. engraver.
Plate 2. Milk below maids. Schiavonetti engraver.
Plate 3. Sweet China oranges, sweet China. L Schiavonetti snr. engraver.
Plate 4. Do you want any matches ? A. Cordon engraver.
Plate 5. New Mackrel.[sic] N. Schiavonetti jnr. engraver.
Plate 6. Knives, scissors and razors to grind. G. Vendramini engraver.
Plate 7. Fresh gathered peas, young Hastings. G. Vendramini engraver.
Plate 8. Round & sound five pence a pound Duke cherries. A. Cordon engraver.
Plate 9. Strawberrys, Scarlet Strawberrys. lacking
Plate 10. Old Chairs to mend. G. Vendramini engraver.
Plate 11. A New Love Song, only Ha’pence a Piece. lacking
Plate 12. Hot Spice ginger bread, smoking hot. G. Vendramini engraver.
Plate 13. Turnips & Carrots, ho! lacking.