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More Of Paul Sandby’s Cries Of London

January 21, 2015
by the gentle author

“Turn your copper into silver before your eyes”

Last week, I published Paul Sandby’s twelve plates of Cries of London, 1760 and today I present a gallery of his sketches held by the Yale Centre for British Art, selected from around a hundred drawings Sandby made of the hawkers and vendors he encountered in the streets around his house in Carnaby Market. The dirty realism of Sandby’s portraits of street traders proved unpopular among the print buyers of his day and he never published any more engravings from his watercolour sketches. He had already designed the title page for another series with the intention of turning all his sketches into prints, yet – ironically – the unsentimental quality of Sandby’s human observation that rendered these Cries a disappointment in his day is precisely what makes them appealing to us.

Hawker with donkey and panniers

Flower Seller

Seller of pots and pans


“Lights for the cats, liver for the dogs”

Shoe cleaner

Seller of laces

“Do you want any spoons?”

“All fire and no smoke”

Black-hearted cherries

Man with a bottle

“Throws for a ha’penny. Have you a ha’penny?”

“Any kitchen stuff”

Muffin Man

Tinker and his wife

“Small coal or brushes”

“Last dying speech and confession”


Orange Seller

Old Clothes Seller

Milk Maid

“Fun upon fun!”

“My Pretty Little Ginny Tarters for a Ha’penny a Stick or a Penny a Stick, or a Stick to Beat your Wives or Dust your Clothes”

Images courtesy Yale Centre for British Art

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Paul Sandby’s Cries of London, 1760

10 Responses leave one →
  1. January 21, 2015

    His work is fantastic, love all the details. Thanks for sharing! Valerie

  2. January 21, 2015

    A quite remarkable collection. I’d no idea that Sandby had this side to him- compassion and accuracy and no trace of whimsy or amusement. Obviously the comparison with Hogarth occurs but the implicit anger is of a different order. While looking at them I had Schubert’s tragic last song in the Winterreise sequence, the hurdy-gurdy man, in my head- the destitute old man, shoeless in the snow. The good old days.

  3. Peter Holford permalink
    January 21, 2015

    The last drawing seems to promote equal rights with the wife beating her husband in the background. Interesting pictures, being less stylized they feel more authentic in showing real people. I wonder how modern stomachs would cope with the fare (and microbes) on offer.

  4. January 21, 2015

    Do you know what “Ginny Tarters” are?

  5. Pauline Taylor permalink
    January 21, 2015

    These are superb representations of real people, they come alive in the drawings by such a talented man. Will there be more to see later? I do hope so.

  6. January 21, 2015

    Please can you explain the ‘Last dying speech and confession’?
    the Mountbank

  7. January 21, 2015

    I guess that ‘Last dying speech and confession’ is a printed account of a condemned person’s last moments on the gallows? These were (to us) grotesquely popular, and sold like ballads on the streets. See a number of examples by the printer James Catnach at But I too would like to know about the ‘Ginny Tarters’!

  8. Shawdiane permalink
    January 23, 2015

    What a shame he felt that he could not do any more sketches. Just proves that his sketches were true to life depicting the poverty of the poor in that Century. Things never change. Would been different if he had glamourised his work, but he didn’t. We lost a treasure trove. Thank you for showing these.

  9. Karen Crabtree permalink
    September 6, 2015

    I aquired two pictures at a garage sale that looks to be a part of this collection. I am having no luck as to finding them anywhere online. I would love if you could give me some information on them. They are beautiful pieces and the previous owner had them framed. Thank you for any response.

  10. Kevin L permalink
    March 12, 2017

    Ginny Tarter:
    Ginny: pertaining to gin, i.e. drunk, and Tartar: a rough or violent person. So it appears to be a neat description of his clientele

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