An Old maid on a Journey

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An Old maid on a Journey
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James Gillray

An Old Maid on a Journey.

London, H. Humphrey Nov. 20th 1804


Original hand-colouring



The fat, elderly figure of Miss Banks, sister of the famous naturalist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks, heads a procession of two skinny, bottlenosed servants carrying her embroidery frame, baggage and a birdcage, into The Cock inn. On the right a large tabby cat, sitting in an embrasure, raises its paw menacingly towards the bird in its cage. Miss Banks wears a green travelling dress and bonnet, and carries a lapdog under one arm and her fan and reticule in the other hand. The landlord, shows her into her room and his grossly fat wife, stands against the wall holding a bill of fare. The bedchambers are labelled the Ram and the Union, common practice in old fashioned inns before the numbering of hotel bedrooms. Miss Banks was an ardent collector of Gillray’s caricatures and a friend of the artist. After her death, her collection was donated by her brother to the British Museum, thus forming the nucleus of the Department of Prints & Drawings’ collection of caricatures. BM 10300.