Sam Syntax’s Cries Of London
Harris, the publisher’s office, at the corner of St Paul’s Churchyard
As I discover more series of Cries of London in my ever-expanding investigation – such as these Sam Syntax Cries from the eighteen-twenties that came to light in the Bishopsgate Institute last week – old friends from earlier series return in new guises, evidencing the degree to which the creators of these popular prints plagiarised each other.
Do you recognise the Hot Cross Bun Seller from the New Cries Of London 1803 or Green Hasteds from Francis Wheatley’s Cries of London or the Watchman from T. L. Busby’s Costume Of The Lower Orders or the Hot Gingerbread Seller from William Marshall Craig’s Itinerant Traders? The recurrence of these figures demonstrates how common images of tradesmen became standardised through repetition over centuries.
Yet equally, when I see a trader here as particular as the toy lamb seller originally portrayed by John Thomas Smith in his Vagabondiana of 1815, it makes me wonder whether, perhaps, this was a portrait of a celebrated individual, a character once recognisable throughout the city.
Eels, Threepence a Pound! Live Eels! & Rabbits! Fresh Rabbits! Buy a Rabbit!
Milk Below, Maids! Milk Below! & One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns!
Plum Pudding and Pies! Hot! Piping Hot! & Sweep! Sweep Ho! Sweep!
Water Cresses! Buy My Nice Water Cresses! & Dust! Dust Ho! Dust!
Buy a Mat or a Hair Broom! & Cat’s Meat or Dog’s Meat!
Chairs to Mend! Any Old Chairs To Mend! & Green and Young Hastings! Green and Buy!
Swords, Colours and Standards! & Sweet Briar and Nosegays, So Pretty Come and Buy!
Potatoes, Three Pounds A Penny! Potatoes! & Hot Spice Gingerbread! Hot! Hot! Hot!
Lobsters! Live Lobsters! All Alive, Lobsters! & Choice Banbury Cakes! Nice Banbury Cakes!
Lambs To Sell! Young Lambs To Sell! & Currants Red And White, A Penny A Pot!
Flounders! Jumping Alive! Fine Flounders! & Matches, Please To Want Any Matches, Ma’am!
Sixpence A Pottle, Fine Strawberries! & News! Great News In The London Gazette!
Past Twelve O’Clock and A Cloudy Morning! & Patrol! Patrol!
Buy A Live Goose! Buy A Live Goose! & Live Fowls! Live Fowls! Buy A Live Fowl!
Flowers Blowing! All A-Growing! & Winkles! A Penny A Pint, Periwinkles!
Images courtesy © Bishopsgate Institute
You may also like to take a look at these other sets of the Cries of London