A Visit to Court – or – “All the world’s a stage, And men and women merely players !!! Shakespeare.

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A Visit to Court – or – “All the world’s a stage, And men and women merely players !!! Shakespeare.
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Isaac Robert Cruikshank (pseud Don Juan)
A Visit to Court – or – “All the world’s a stage, And men and women merely players !!! Shakespeare.
London, G. Humphrey c. June 1825
Etching
Original hand-colouring
260x360mm
Slight dust staining in margins, brown oxidisation stain in top left corner
£160
A scene at court. A gentleman in waiting, wearing court dress a Star and sword, stands framed in a doorway, opera hat in hand. He says to two approaching ladies May I trouble you for your cards Ladies ? On the left is the stout, moustachioed, richly dressed figure of Harriot Mellon (Mrs Coutts), attended by the small figure of the Earl of Burford (later Duke of St. Albans), who obsequiously holds up her train in the manner of a footman. She says here is mine my Lord, I am Mistress C. She has a profusion of ostrich plumes in her coiffure, a large reticule and her dress is embroidered with cornucopias spilling coins. On the right is Mistress B, Mlle Mercandotti the celebrated Spanish dancer, now Mrs Hughes Ball Hughes. She is dressed as a ballet dancer in an indecently short skirt and plumed tiara, and dances forward on her points with a golden ball (a reference to her husband’s nickname ‘the Golden Ball’) in one hand and her invitation, labelled ‘B’ in the other. A satire on the social elevation of two actresses through marriage. Mercandotti married the fabulously wealthy Edward Hughes Ball Hughes in 1823, and the enormously wealthy comic actress Harriot Mellon, widow of the banket Thomas Coutts, married the Duke of St. Albans in July 1827. BM 14875