Dated Satires
Dated Index
Undated Satires
Undated Index
British Museum Satires
British Museum Index

A Hint to Husbands or the Dresser, properly Dressed

London. Printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, No. 53 Fleet Streets, as the Act directs 25 Jany 1777
Private Collection

A Catalogue of 18th-Century British Mezzotint Satires in North American Collections

The catalogue lists mezzotint print satires or drolls from London printsellers, a market that flourished between 1760 and 1800. The catalogue includes those images, over 600, that survive in North American collections and should be of interest to social, literary, and print historians of the late eighteenth century.

With a few exceptions, the catalogue is confined to prints first presented in the 10 x 14 inch format that was described in contemporary printshop catalogues as the "posture" print, a term derived from the use of this format for poses or portrait. Some of the images are represented in North American collections by 5 x 7 inch impressions, reduced copies of the originals. In the first decade of the fashion, paintings or larger mezzotints were commonly reduced to the "posture" format indicating a market for prints that were relatively cheap and of a convenient size for preservation in a portfolio or album. From about 1770 on, it appears that more often the 10 x 14 inch format became the standard plate size upon which originals were engraved both by free-lance "mezzotinto scrappers" and those who may have worked in-house for the printsellers.

The standard catalogue for these prints has been the eleven volume Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the the British Museum, compiled byFrederick Stephens and Dorothy George and published between 1889 and 1954. This catalogue of prints in North American collections stands as a supplement to the British Museum Catalogue(hereafter the BMC) which was confined to images the museum held at that time.The first and second sections of this catalogue describes those drolls preserved in North American collections that were not included in the BMC.

What is a mezzotint?

Satire or droll?

Printsellers and the market


Photographic reproduction services and
additional copyright information



Out of the 5,500 prints at the British Museum that Stephens and George catalogued that were published between 1760 and 1800, around 330 were prints that they identified as mezzotint satires. Drawing solely upon the major, public North American collections, this catalogue presents another 425 images that have not been previously catalogued, as well as over 200 listed in the BMC. In addition, since no North American collection stands as a core archive to the degree that the British Museum does, this catalogue provides a cross-reference that should facilitate access to the riches of the American collections, even in their relatively scattered state.

The catalogue surveys collections with major holdings in the mezzotint satire--Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University; Yale Center for British Art, Yale University; New York Public Library; Library of Congress, Colonial Williamsburg; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Huntington Library; Harry Elkins Widener Collection at the Harvard College Library--and several other archives with fewer, but in some instances unique, impressions such as the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the Mariners' Museum, and the Newberry Library.

The Catalogue of 18th Century British Mezzotint Satires in North American Collections is organized in three sections as follows:
1) dated mezzotints not catalogued in the BMC
2) undated mezzotints not catalogued in the BMC
3) mezzotint satires catalogued in the BMC preserved in North American collections

Each section has an index for quick reference with individual titles linked to the catalogue text. The dated section is also linked by dates to the list of dates at the section's heading. The entries in the first two sections include descriptions. For the third section, fuller descriptions of each image are available in Vols. III ii, IV, V, and VI, and VII of the BMC.

The descriptions of previously uncatalogued impressions in sections 1 and 2 are illustrated where possible by digital reproductions. All images include an embedded digital watermark and are covered under the following Copyright notice:

Each image or impression posted on this web-site is copyright to and the property of the collection or archive identified here as its source. Permission to include an image has been granted only for the scholarly purpose for which this web-page was designed. The appearance of an image here does not indicate or imply a permission to reproduce that extends beyond its inclusion in this web-page. Anyone seeking a reproduction of or to reproduce an image should apply to the appropriate archive through its photographic reproduction service.

Navigation notes:
Each of the three catalogue sections--dated satires, undated satires, and British Museum--is linked to its index, but passage from section to section requires returning to this home page. For example, if you are in dated satires you can link to the dated index, but if you want to get to the British Museum mezzotint list you will have to return home and link to the British Museum Satires from there.

Click on the thumbnail next to the description to view a 5 x 7 inch image.

This web-page will be updated periodically and I welcome responses that will help refine the entries. Information about particular images--their sources or editions--or archives that should be included in the catalogue would be particularly helpful. Since this is an experiment in presenting an extensive catalogue on the web, suggestions about format and presentation will also be useful. Please contact me at

Updated: July 1, 2002

Dated Satires
Dated Index
Undated Satires
Undated Index
British Museum Satires
British Museum Index