English Plenty & Indian Scarcity Prints
This pair of large hand coloured stipple engravings after Henry Singleton (1766- 1839) portray contrasting views of life in India and back home in Britain. In English Plenty the sailor on the dock has recently returned and appears affluent perhaps from prize money or back pay. He is dressed well and is accompanied by two ladies who are eager to help him spend his money. Each carries vegetables, ostensibly to sell, but suggesting that they are the goods on offer. In Indian Scarcity the reverse is shown. Two sailors, both in ragged clothes, are either side of a native beauty offering a mirror and watch for the basket of fruit. Their goods greatly over value the fruit and their real interest lies with her. She holds a pineapple, whose shape is echoed in her hairstyle and not only was a luxury item but is also a traditional symbol of welcome. Not only do the prints show the difference between demand and supply in the two countries but they also note the public’s concern at the time of sailors losing all their money in unsavoury circumstances on their return home. Singleton was a celebrated painter in his day, partly thanks to these two pictures which were in contrast to his more typically conservative work. Although the prints legends are covered by the black border and titles to the glass it is known that they were engraved by Bartolotti and Charles Knight in 1794.
Framed size of each is given.
|Height:||27.75 ins (70.49 cm)|
|Width:||2.5 ins (6.35 cm)|
|Depth:||1 ins (2.54 cm)|
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