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Very Slippy Weather

James Gillray, 1808.

Very Slippy Weather

James Gillray, 1808.

A framed and mounted, hand coloured engraving by the Georgian satirist James Gillray.

"An elderly man bumps violently on the pavement outside Hannah Humphrey's print shop in a sitting position; his legs (in tasselled Hessians) fly up, but he carefully holds a thermometer in a vertical position. Hat and wig fly off, coins pour from his breeches pocket, a snuff-box bowls away, a dog barks at him. He is unobserved by four men who gaze at the shop-window, and by a grotesquely ugly ragged boy with skates, who walks past, intent on the window.

he shop-front is depicted in detail: a glass-paned door (r.), with a fan-light above it. 'Humphrey' over the door; 'N° 27' on the door-post. Through the glass door two men, one a fat drink-blotched parson, are seen inspecting 'Catholic Emancipation'.

Next the door (l.) is a bow-fronted shop-window, every pane filled with one of Gillray's prints. The upper rightow are (l. to r.): 'Taking Physick' , 'A Gentle Emetic', 'A Brisk Cathartic'  .'Breathing a Vein' , 'Charming Well again', all probably drawn by Sneyd. The next row: 'in at the Death', 'French Gingerbd Baker', 'King of Brobdingg & Gulliver', 'Kick at ye Broad Bottoms', 'Oh that this too Solid Flesh'.

The titles of the four following are hidden by the heads of the window-gazers: ['A Decent Story'] , ['Ladies Dress, as it soon will be,'] , ['Two-Penny Whist'], a print, largely obscured, and probably drawn to fill a small space: a man raises a club to smite down Napoleon, whose head, cocked hat, and hands only are visible, 'Palemon & Lavinia'. The lower prints are hidden by the railings. "

- British Museum listing


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Dimensions: 41cm (16¼") High, 34.8cm (13¾") Wide, 1.5cm (0½") Deep
Stock code: AD1607 D

Thus emblematic image of the Georgian print and caricature trade shows the window of Hannah Humphrey’s shop at 27 St. James’s Street. Although always known as ‘Mrs.’ Humphrey, Hannah Humphrey remained unmarried her whole life and acted both as Gillray’s exclusive patron and benefactor. After the death of Gillray’s parents in 1797 Gillray took rooms above the shop until his death from alcohol induced madnes in 1815.

This is one of seven coloured plates by the caricaturist and printmaker and James Gillray, published together by his patron and benefactor Mrs Hannah Humphrey on February 10, 1808. The set includes Delicious Weather, Dreadful-Hot-Weather, Fine Bracing Weather, Raw Weather, Sad Sloppy Weather, Windy Weather and Very Slippy-Weather.