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Westminster Hall, The First Day of Term, A Satirical Poem.
1797. "When Fools Fall Out for Ev'ry Flaw, They Run Horn Mad to Go to Law" Gravelot, Hubert-Francois [1699-1773], After. Mosley, Charles, Engraver. Westminster Hall. The First Day of Term. A Satirical Poem. London: Republished by Laurie & Whittle, 6th November, 1797. Copperplate engraving, 12-1/2" x 13-3/4" image on a 14-1/2" x 19-3/4" sheet of wove paper, watermarked "W. King" in the right margin of the sheet, mounted and matted. Light soiling to margins, toning to outer edges of margins, mostly covered by mat, very good overall. * A wonderful depiction of the English law court at Westminster Hall in the age of Blackstone accompanied by a satirical poem by an anonymous author. The print shows the active scene within Westminster Hall on the first day of term, showing the hammerbeam roof and looking towards arched windows at the far end. Members of the public and the law court go about their business in the hall, conversing and buying law books from stalls that flank either side of the hall. A few women are seen milling about and one woman appears to be selling a book to another. Four columns of verse beneath the image satirize the litigiousness of English society and the eagerness of attorneys to take even the most trifling case: "Jargons and noise alone prevail - while sense and reason's sure to fail; at Babel thus law terms began, - and now at Westminster go on." In image and in text, this print provides us with important contemporary evidence of the legal work that went on at Westminster, and the low esteem in which that work could be held. This image was originally published in 1758, according to the record of the Government Art Collection at Queen's Yard, London. Gravelot was active as an artist in London in the 1730s and 1740s, after which he returned to France, though he continued to produce work for publication in England. OCLC locates copies at the Harvard Law School and at the Morgan Library. We are also aware of copies at the Yale Center for British Art, the British Museum, the Government Art Collection at Queen's Yard, London, and the collections of the British Parliament. According to the British Museum, it is not listed in Stephens and George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum.
      [Bookseller: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.]
Last Found On: 2015-11-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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