Slight of hand by a monkey, or, The lady’s head unloaded

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 A lady walking along a high orchard wall has her enormous headdress, trimmed with lace and ribbons, pulled from her head by a monkey perched atop the wall. She clasps her hand to her bare head, a look of surprise on her face. A man perched on a ladder picking apples in the orchard looks over the wall in amusement at the scene. A butcher’s boy with a large tray stands in the street equally amused by the scene.

  • Title: Slight of hand by a monkey, or, The lady’s head unloaded [graphic].
  • Published: [London : Printed for Carington Bowles, at his Map & Print Warehouse No. 69 in St. Pauls Church Yard, London, published as the act directs, 25 Oct. 1776]

Catalog Record  & Digital Collection


Acquired April 2003

This entry was posted in "A Collection's Progress: The Lewis Walpole Library, 2000-2014" Exhibit, Prints & Drawings and tagged , , , , , , , by lewiswalpolelibrary. Bookmark the permalink.

About lewiswalpolelibrary

The Lewis Walpole Library, a department of the Yale University Library since 1980, is an internationally recognized research collection in the field of British eighteenth-century studies. Its unrivalled collection of Walpoliana includes half the traceable volumes from Horace Walpole's famous library at Strawberry Hill and many letters and other manuscripts by him. The Library's book and manuscript collections, numbering over 32,000 volumes, cover all aspects of eighteenth-century British culture. The Library is also home to the largest and finest collection of eighteenth-century British graphic art outside the British Museum; its 35,000 satirical prints, portraits, and topographical views are an incomparable resource for visual material on many facets of English life of the period. Located in Farmington, Connecticut, forty miles north of New Haven and within easy distance of Boston and New York, the Lewis Walpole Library's collections also include drawings, paintings, and furniture, all housed on a 14-acre campus with four historically important structures and extensive grounds. The Library runs an active fellowship program and sponsors conferences, lectures, and exhibitions in cooperation with other Yale libraries and departments.

3 thoughts on “Slight of hand by a monkey, or, The lady’s head unloaded

  1. Hi Lewis Walpole Library, the correct spelling is “Sleight” of hand, not “slight.” I see that this spelling originated in the original title the artist gave to the work, and is not something Yale added in the curatorial / editorial process. Was “slight” correct in 1776? Perhaps a [sic] would be appropriate? I don’t know what the accepted protocol is, but I have high standards for Yale!

    Stephanie Vardavas, SM ’77

    • Thank you for bringing our attention to the preliminary record for the print “Slight of hand by a monkey, or, The lady’s head unloaded”. I took this opportunity to review the record and add a second title using the modern spelling, as you correctly suggest, as well as adding a third title for the alternative title. Generally we do not add [sic] after archaic spellings but only after unintentional misprints; for early material before spelling was standardize adding [sic] for every archaic spelling would be too distracting. After looking at the etymology of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary, I concluded that both spellings — ‘slight’ and ‘sleight’ — were used into the 18th century.

      1652 T. Urquhart Εκσκυβαλαυρον 62 Who by hook and crook,..slight and might..having feathered their nests to some purpose.
      1699 W. Temple Introd. Hist. Eng. 565 He endeavoured to ward this Blow, by Slight rather than Force.
      1714 Pope Rape of Lock (new ed.) ii. 16 Some dire Disaster, or by Force, or Slight.

      Again, thank you for the suggested enhancement to the record and for reading the record so carefully in the first place!

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