a. Children Spouting Tragedy. b. Children Spouting Comedy

a. Children Spouting Tragedy.  b. Children Spouting Comedy
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Interesting, rare, stipple engravings, so finely executed as to give the impression of being a mezzotint. Plate ‘a’ is scene outside the portico of a palladian country mansion with a group of five children acting out one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. The eldest girl declaims dramatically, her younger sister weeps, a small boy lies apparently dead on the steps, while a small girl watches enthralled on the right. In plate ‘b’ the children are acting out a comic scene. The eldest girl has given herself a huge stomach with the aid of a bundle of linen, a small boy tries on a satyr’s mask, another points to a cup with rude gestures and two small children play with a walking staff. The artist Richard Morton Paye (d. 1821), specialised in painting children, both as single portaits and in groups. Although he died in poverty and neglect, his work is now especially esteemed for his depictions of childhood during the late eighteenth century.