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Sam Syntax’s Cries Of London

May 20, 2021
by the gentle author

Harris, the publisher’s office, at the corner of St Paul’s Churchyard

Examining 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  – 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

John Player’s Cries of London

More John Player’s Cries of London

Faulkner’s Street Cries

Samuel Pepys’ Cries of London

More Samuel Pepys’ Cries of London

Kendrew’s Cries of London

London Characters

Geoffrey Fletcher’s Pavement Pounders

William Craig Marshall’s Itinerant Traders

London Melodies

Henry Mayhew’s Street Traders

H.W.Petherick’s London Characters

John Thomson’s Street Life in London

Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries

Marcellus Laroon’s Cries of London

William Nicholson’s London Types

John Leighton’s London Cries

Francis Wheatley’s Cries of London

John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana of 1817

John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana II

John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana III

Thomas Rowlandson’s Lower Orders

More of Thomas Rowlandson’s Lower Orders

Victorian Tradesmen Scraps

Cries of London Scraps

New Cries of London 1803

Cries of London Snap Cards

Julius M Price’s London Types

Adam Dant’s  New Cries of Spittlefields

Click here to buy a copy of the CRIES OF LONDON for £10

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    May 20, 2021

    Another great collection of London characters!

    Also interesting that he has kept the background architecture so simple and yet still manages to evoke the particular street settings.

  2. Sonia Murray permalink
    May 20, 2021

    Hastings was a puzzler – Google just gave references to the battle and the town. Ran it to earth in Webster’s Unabridged: early fruit or vegetable. Hasting, hurrying, hurried… Thanks for a new word, GA!

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