The Monster melo - drama

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The Monster melo - drama
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Samuel De Wilde (pseud Thaumaso Scrutiny)

The monster melo-drama.

London, S Tipper Dec. 4th. 1807

Etching

Original hand colouring

190 x 340 mm

Repairs to old folds and margins

£160

A four-footed monster, with four human heads, the long hairy body resembling that of a dog, stand in an open space in front of the theatres of Covent Garden (l.) and Drury Lane (r.), the latter partly obscured by clouds rising from the ground, and with the statue of Apollo, headless as in BMSat 10764. The three main heads are those of Sheridan, saying "Ha, ha, ha," Kemble saying "Oh!!!!!", with a tragic expression, and of a clown (evidently Grimaldi) with painted face and blue wig, saying, "Nice Moon". A dagger is thrust into Kemble's neck, blood gushing from the wound. A fourth head wearing a mask, that of Harlequin, looks over the back of the monster, who wears a Harlequin coat over its fore-legs and the front part of its body. It has a long barbed tail inscribed 'A Tail of Mistery'. The monster's fore-paws rest on a paper: 'Regular Dramas Congreve Beaumont and Fletcher Colman' [attacked in BMSat 5064, now a standard author]. A hind-foot rests on 'Shakespear's Works'. Under its body are a number of modern dramatists, some of whom suck from its many teats. They are portraits, and some are identified by the titles of plays by which they stand. On the left. Frederic Reynolds bestrides a large dog (Carlo) by 'The Caravan' [see BMSat 10172, &c.]. A man sits on the shoulders of a monk with cloven hoofs in order to reach a teat; the monk (Lewis) stands on 'Wood Daemon' [a 'Grand Romantic Melo-Drama' by M. G. ('Monk') Lewis, first played at Drury Lane 1 Apr. 1807 (cf. BMSat 10727)]. Holcroft, wearing spectacles (as in BMSat 9240), stands on the 'Road to Ruin' [see BMSat 8073]. Skeffington, wearing long striped pantaloons, stands on his 'Sleeping Beauty' [see BMSat 10455]. On the extreme right. Dimond, tall, thin, and foppish, stands on his 'Hunter of the Alps', played at the Haymarket in 1804. There are five other men, less prominent, and unidentified by inscriptions. Behind, an old man (or woman) drives a flock of geese past the arcade of Covent Garden Theatre.