The Cobbler’s Cure for a Scolding Wife
A framed, hand-colored etching by Thomas Rowlandson, published by Thomas Tegg.
A study in human savagery. A cobbler stands over his wife, a grimacing virago who is tied to a chair with her wrists bound. With his awl between his teeth he pulls at the thread with which he is stitching up her mouth. A buxom young woman leans delightedly over the pair, lighting the work with a small candle.
Rowlandson was a chronicler of London life both low and high. Less inclined to political comment than his contemporaries Gilray and Cruikshank he chose instead to focus of the foibles, fancies and failings of common society. His drawings were always harsh and frequently grotesque, even repulsive. The figures in his work are rarely, if ever, held up for our admiration but rather in accordance with his maxim of 1802 that "Man is the only creature endowed with the power of laughter, is he not also the only one that deserves to be laughed at?"
Rowlandson's designs were usually executed in outline with the reed-pen, and delicately washed with colour. They were then etched by the artist on the copper, and afterwards aqua-tinted usually by a professional engraver, the impressions being finally coloured by hand.