Frost Fair on the River Thames

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“In the foreground is the riverside in Southwark, with spectators, and a vendor of ‘A hot Mutton Pie or an Apple Pie’; a gangway placarded ‘The New City Road’ leads from the pavement to ice. In the background is a detailed view of riverside buildings, the north ends of Blackfriars Bridge (left) and London Bridge (right), St. Paul’s, many spires, and the Monument (right). Letters on the print refer to a key in the lower margin. Tents are dotted over the ice, with a group of three in the centre of the design: ‘The City of Moscow’ has two other placards, ‘Barclays Intire’ and ‘Good Gin Rum &c.’ It flies a Russian flag and on its summit is the effigy of a man. Behind this is the ‘Lord Wellington for Ever’, with a Union flag, and on the left the ‘Orange Boven’ [see No. 12102] with ‘Good Ale Porter & Gin’; it flies the striped flag of the Stadtholder. In front of this people are dancing while a fiddler plays (‘H, Dancing and Fidling’). Behind these tents there is a curving line of spectators and pedestrians along the stream of the river, inscribed ‘I, The main walk’. At intervals along it are various attractions: ‘B, Copperplate Printing’ (the press is being worked), ‘The Wiskey Shop’ (a small booth), a printing-press with a placard ‘Frost Fair Printing Office’ (‘A, Letterpress Printing’), and, farther on, another press: ‘Thames Printing Office’ (also marked ‘A’). Other incidents are skittles (two games, ‘F, playing at Skittles’); ‘G, Throwing at Gingerbread’, with sticks, the slabs being placed on upright sticks. Two boat-shaped swings, one placarded ‘High Flyer’ (‘E, Swinging’); two ‘Ballad Singers’ (‘D’), a man and woman; the carcase of a sheep, hanging from a gibbet-like erection (‘C, A Sheep to be roasted’). In the distance a barber shaves a man who is seated in the open (‘K, Shaveall at work’).”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • TitleFrost Fair on the River Thames [graphic] : as it appeared in the hard frost, Feby. 4, 1814, between London and Blackfriars Bridges when the river was one sheet of ice and snow, and on which several trades and pastimes were carried on, the above view was taken on the spot at Bankside Feby. 4.
  • Publication[London : Published Feby. 14, 1814, by G. Thompson, No. 43 Long Lane, West Smithfield, 14 February 1814]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

814.02.14.02++

Acquired February 2016

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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.

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