Spirits at work - Joanna conceiving- ie- blowingup Shiloh

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Spirits at work - Joanna conceiving- ie- blowingup Shiloh
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Charles Williams

Spirits at work- Joanna conceiving- ie- blowingup Shiloh.

London, M. Jones July 1st. 1814, The Scourge

Etching

Original hand colouring

237 x 333 mm

Traces of old folds as issued, neat marginal repair.

£380

Joanna Southcott, seated on a sofa in a well-furnished room, registers astonished alarm at a demon, who looks out from under a table (left) at a cat which arches its back angrily. She is scarcely caricatured, and is plainly dressed in white, wearing a cap and spectacles. She flinches back, dropping her book, open at 'The Art of Humbuging—Cha I'. A similar demon, kneeling on a 'Bible', inflates her petticoats by blowing through some instrument, thus producing a semblance of exaggerated pregnancy. The first demon says: "Don't be frightend Joany it only me I'm always at work for you." Beside her is a large book: 'List of the Sealed'. On the floor are sealed packets inscribed 'Wonders Wonders Wonders' [puffing catch-phrase of Katerfelto, cf. No. 6326], 'Marvel Ye People', and a torn book, 'A Treatise on the Cure of Insane Persons'. Under the sofa is a chamber-pot inscribed 'Virgin Water'. On the round table, only the right of which is within the design, is a brimming punch-bowl whose steam mingles with smoke from a fiercely burning candle round the flame of which a hoop or circle is miraculously suspended. From this cloud a hand emerges, in a blue sleeve with a red cuff, and fills a glass with a punch-ladle. Words issue from a head faintly formed by the convolutions of the smoke: 'Fear not it is I Drink this and quicken your Conceptions.' The bowl is decorated with dancing demons; beside it are decanters of 'Rum' and 'Brandy', a lemon, and sugar-bowl. A kettle steams beside a blazing fire. Behind the sofa and shielding it from the door (right) is a tall screen of several leaves. Along the upper edge is the inscription: 'The Tribes to be Conducted by Shiloh to T. . . .' Below are panels decorated with genealogical trees, three of which are named respectively: 'Tribe of Juda', 'Tribe of Issachar', 'Tribe of Zebulan'. The upper part of the door is glass, through which are seen two bearded Jews in consultation. One says: "Well must we tell de Shinagog can you shee little Shiloh." The other answers: "No tish all behind the Screens but de Spirit was work I smell de punch." On the chimney-piece two figurines flank a handsome clock: 'Aron' holding a rod and (?) censer, 'Moses' with the Table of the Law. There are also an ink-stand and two large volumes: 'Smith on the Prophetic Writers' and 'Divine Judgement on guilty Nations'. Above Joanna's head hangs a bag labelled: 'Passports to Heaven five shillings each or two for Seven'. Three half length portraits are on the wall, the centre one being upside-down: 'my Expartner Carpenter', a man preaching. On the right is 'my Enlightened Journeyman Tozer'; a man declaims from an open book; behind: 'Tozer lath render'. On the right: 'The great Prophet Brothers'; a ranting and ragged man lifts both arms. After the title: '"Black spirits and white, "Blue spirits and grey, "Come mingle you that mingle may.' ['Macbeth', iv. 1.]