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While there has never been any doubt that Marcellus Laroon's (1653-1702) Cryes of the City of London Drawne after the Life is "the most important set of cries published in England," there has been considerable confusion about the various editions and transformations of this publication.[1] The life of this handsome ensemble of prints, the first cries in England to achieve aesthetic status, is both extensive and involved. It reaches from 1687


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to 1821 and comprehends many different publishers, imitators, and plagiarists. This essay is intended as a contribution toward a complete history of Laroon's set of engravings with a short account of their influence.

The greatest difficulties with the Cryes of the City of London concern the earliest editions. The Term Catalogues specify five editions prior to 1700. The first, announced for Michaelmas Term, 1687 (ed. Arber, II, 207), describes an edition published by Pierce Tempest, containing an unspecified number of engravings. The second, announced for Hilary Term, 1687/8, describes an edition published by Tempest with forty copperplates "newly drawn after the Life. . . ." (Term Catalogues, II, 218). The third Tempest edition, the subject of the first part of this paper, is announced in the Term Catalogue for Trinity, 1688, as containing sixty copperplates (Term Catalogues, II, 231). The fourth Tempest edition (Michaelmas Term, 1688) is announced as containing seventy-two copperplates (Term Catalogues, II, 240), and the fifth Tempest edition is advertised (Trinity Term, 1689) with seventy-four engravings (Term Catalogues, II, 281).

One certain copy of the fifth edition (Trinity Term, 1689) is in the collection of the British Museum, and one certain copy of the fourth (Michaelmas Term, 1688) is in the London Guildhall Library.[2] No copies of the third, second, or first editions are known to exist. Until now, one piece of "evidence" has been offered on behalf of the existence of a third edition. In his monograph Marcellus Laroon, Robert Raines asserts that "in support of there having been an edition with sixty plates is the fact that the number of plates of the dismembered copy in the Pepysian Library is exactly sixty. . ." (Raines, Appendix III). Raines obtained his information from an unreliable source, for no such edition of "exactly sixty" plates exists in the Pepysian Library. According to Mrs. E. M. Coleman, the Assistant Librarian at the Pepysian, the Library's edition contains only fifty-two prints plus two title pages. Furthermore according to a list of plates kindly supplied me by Mrs. Coleman, the Pepys Library's copy contains "Any Bakeing Peares" and "New River Water," both of which were executed for the fifth edition when the number of plates was increased from seventy-two to seventy-four. Consequently, the Pepys copy cannot be used as evidence for the existence of the third edition of 1688 and, in all probability, must itself derive from the fifth edition (Trinity Term, 1689) or even one subsequent to it.

But while the Pepysian Cryes of London is irrelevant to early editions of Laroon, two others have recently come to light which, taken together, provide a basis upon which it is possible to verify the publication of the third edition and, more important, reconstruct its contents. The first of these copies with fifty-nine unnumbered engravings is now in the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, to which I am indebted for a reproduction. Its impressions are bright, vivid, and sharp, arguing for an early date of origin. Because the fifth edition is the first impression to contain a full set of seventy-four


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engravings, it is a useful model against which to collate other editions. When the Texas copy is collated with the fifth edition, it is found to lack plates 48, 49, 50, 52-61, 69, and 71. (The plate numbers are Henry Overton's, the first publisher to have numerals engraved on every design; the date of Overton's edition is unclear and may be 1711, 1731, or 1733).

The second of these copies is part of the Virginia Warren Collection now in the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Bound in seventeenth-century calf and preserved in very fine condition, this copy also contains fifty-nine unnumbered prints. While the sequence of the plates in the Texas copy appears random, the sequence in the Indiana copy has an affinity with a scarce Tempest edition c. 1709 now in the Pierpont Morgan Library in that the order of the first twenty-four plates in both books corresponds exactly. This correspondence argues that the Indiana copy's terminus ante quem is 1709 and suggests that the sequence of its plates has an authority reaching back to its date of publication. The impressions of the Indiana copy are crisp, well-defined, and contrastive; identical in condition to those of the Texas copy, they too were taken from the copperplates before they had become worn. When the Indiana copy is collated with the fifth edition, it lacks plates 49, 50, 52-61, 69, 71, and 74.

To summarize, the Indiana copy lacks plate seventy-four (present in the Texas copy). The Texas copy lacks plate forty-eight (present in the Indiana copy). Together, the two books make up a set of exactly sixty plates. With the single exception of plate seventy-four, the unique sequence of missing plates in the Indiana copy is identical to the sequence of missing plates in the Texas copy, both lacking numbers 49, 50, 52-61, 69, and 71. Is this correspondence involving fourteen identical plates in two cries merely a matter of coincidence? What is the mathematical probability that these two books of fifty-nine plates are subsets (mathematical sets contained within master sets) of the third edition of sixty plates rather than subsets of the later editions of seventy-two or seventy-four plates?

Mathematical probability confirms what intuition suggests must be the answer to this question. If both copies were in fact subsets of an edition of seventy-four plates and in the course of time both lost fifteen plates, the probability that both would lose the same fourteen plates is ten to the minus ten, assuming that one thousand copies of the fourth and the same number of the fifth edition were originally issued.[3] In layman's terms, the probability that both the Indiana and Texas volumes would lack the same fourteen plates is 1 in 10,000,000,000 or one chance in ten billion. On the basis of this figure, the notion that the correspondence under discussion is accidental is untenable. It may safely be assumed then, that the missing sequence is not a


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random matter but is to be accounted for by the fact that both copies are subsets of an original edition of sixty plates. As imperfect copies of a suite of sixty plates, the Indiana and Texas Cryes together confirm the long-suspected publication of the third edition of 1688, and for the first time, reveal the identity of its engravings. A list of these engravings taken from the Indiana copy (because of the authority of its sequence) appears in an appendix.

The last known edition of Laroon's Cryes to be published by Pierce Tempest is recorded in 1709 (Term Catalogue, Easter and Trinity Term [ed. Arber, III, 647]). Until now, one copy (referred to above) believed to date from around 1709 is known to have survived; it is in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. The survival of three other rare Tempest editions from the same time period as the Morgan copy must now be recorded. The first of these is in the Virginia Warren Collection in Bloomington. The early state of the two title pages (all pre-1760 Laroon's have two title pages, plate one and —usually—plate thirty-seven) of this Warren Cryes and its unnumbered designs establish that it was published by Tempest. The order of its plates bears no resemblance to that of the Morgan copy or the later Overton edition. Probably established when the volume was last bound, its sequence seems to have no special authority. The Warren copy, the only one I have seen in which all the plates are colored, lacks two engravings, "A Nonconformist Minister" (plate seventy-three) and "Frater Mendicans" (plate seventy-four).

The two remaining Tempest editions, both containing complete sets of seventy-four prints, are in the Huntington Library. The first of these is printed on paper containing the countermark "P lOLLY," who worked only between 1699 and 1715 (Muir, rev. of Kaufrufe und Strassenhändler, 561). The second Huntington Tempest, the gift of Mrs. E. Bodman, contains a suite of brilliant impressions. The most interesting fact about these two Tempests is that although their provenance is different, the order of their plates is identical and so may represent the sequence of plates in Cryes which appeared in the early eighteenth century, prior to the Overton edition. The first twenty-five plates in both copies replicate the order of the plates in the later Overton edition; thereafter three groups totaling twenty-six plates are out of sequence with Overton but in sequence with each other.

It has often been assumed that the plates to early editions of Laroon were engraved by Pierce Tempest himself (Raines, Appendix III). It has also been suggested that the entire set was probably cut by John Savage, who signed a number of the plates.[4] On the basis of a hitherto unnoticed advertisement for the fifth edition (London Gazette, 25-28 February 1688) describing the designs as "curiously engraven by the best Artists," it is now safe to assert that the copperplates were executed by a variety of hands in the atelier of Tempest.

From Tempest, the Laroon plates passed into the hands of Henry Overton. Precisely when this transfer took place is a matter of some uncertainty.


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Karen Beall gives the date of the first Overton edition as 1711 (?), and designates it E10 in her monumental bibliography of cries and itinerant traders from around the world.[5] Percy Muir thinks the transfer took place later (Muir, rev. of Kaufrufe und Strassenhändler, 558-562). In the Overton Laroon the phrase "In 74 Copper Plates," appears in the first title page, below the words "Drawne after the Life"; the phrase "Printed & Sold by Henry Overton at the White Horse without Newgate London. 1711 [?]" is included in the publication line; and numerals have been engraved in the lower right hand corner of each plate. Beall records Overton editions in the Mellon Collection and the Huntington Library in the United States (Beall, p. 136). The Huntington copy is especially interesting because it identifies eleven of the criers with historical personages and cross references them to sketches in James Granger's Biographical History of England. To these Overton editions must be added two others, a vivid impression in the Kress Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, and a beautifully bound impression in the New York Public Library, which has a distinguished collection of cries and itinerant trades. Overton editions are offered for sale from time to time. A recent rare book catalogue offered a complete edition (for the sum of £2,000) which identified, in a contemporary hand, "A Nonconformist Minister" (plate seventy-three) as a portrait of the publisher (Catalogue One Thousand, 191).

In a category by itself is an Overton in the Rare Book and Special Collection Division of the Library of Congress which obliged me with a xerographic copy through Karen Beall and Leonard Beck. This edition, in which some "plates have been altered to bring the costume into the fashion of the time of republication" and to which six additional plates have been appended, is classified in the National Union Catalogue as a 1711 Overton.[6] Though the publication date on this volume is to me indecipherable and may be read as 1711, 1731 or 1733, there can be no doubt that it is an Overton edition. Its first title page matches that of other known Overtons as does the order of its plates, their contents, and their titles (with three minor exceptions: plate two's title is excised; plate sixty-three is retitled "The Bartholomew fair Musician"; and plate twenty-three is titled in a fourth language—Dutch—instead of just the usual three). Despite a basic similarity, the Library of Congress copy deviates from other Overtons in the way certain criers are depicted, in the signatures and engraved numbers on the plates, and in the decorative framework surrounding the criers. Taken together these major departures suggest that the Library of Congress volume is an unusual Overton indeed.

As the entry in the National Union Catalogue points out, some plates in the Library of Congress copy have been altered. By my survey, plates 5, 10, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 32, 36, 39, 40, 42, 44, 46, 55, and 59 have been retouched;


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criers' hats, scarfs, faces, necklines, and shoes have been modified to reflect changes in fashion and shifts in standards of feminine beauty. In addition, one ("The merry Milk Maid," plate twenty-three) has been entirely re-engraved; it is signed by Jacob Gole (see footnote 9 below). No other Overton with modernized or re-engraved plates has been recorded. However, to anticipate briefly the history of the Laroon designs, when the copperplates passed from Overton to their next proprietor, Robert Sayer, he reissued them around 1760 in an edition of six parts in which virtually all the engravings (those listed above and a substantial number of others) were modernized and updated in precisely the manner I have just outlined.

In all known Overtons, the following signatures or some variation on them appear in the lower portion of each sheet outside the picture frame: "MLauron delin: P. Tempest exc: Cum Privilegio." When the plates were republished by Sayer, all such identifications were excised. In the Library of Congress Overton, signatures remain on forty-five images but have been removed from twenty-nine. In all known Overtons, numerals are engraved in the lower right corner of each print within the picture frame. When the prints were reissued in six parts by Sayer, two numbers (one specifying the sequence within each part, the other within the entire volume) appear in the upper left and right portions of the image in parts two through six inclusive. In the Library of Congress Overton, thirty-seven prints are entirely without engraved numbers, thirty-three have numbers in the lower right hand corner (as in other Overtons), two have numbers in the left and right upper corners (as in Sayer), one has a number in the upper right hand corner only, and one has a number in the upper and lower right corners (as in other Overtons and Sayer).

In all known Laroon's (including Sayer's), a border composed of two or three lines encloses the crier and his or her immediate environment; outside this border and below it, the title to each picture appears. In the Library of Congress Overton, this border and the picture title are enclosed by a large rectangular frame not present in any previous or subsequent edition. This encompassing frame is made up of a single engraved line and appears in every plate with the exception of the first title page. Additional modifications of an experimental and incomplete character have been made to individual borders and frames which suggest that the publisher was attempting to elaborate a more picturesque and ornamental structure within which to feature the criers. In plate sixty-eight, the title is enclosed within its own special rectangle; in plate twenty-one, the picture border has only three sides to it instead of the usual four; and in plate twenty-four not one but two large rectangular frames enclose the picture border and title.

From this description, it is clear that the Library of Congress Laroon as a whole has characteristics of both the Overton and Sayer editions. Furthermore, some of its individual plates actually possess Overton and Sayer characteristics simultaneously, such as their two contradictory systems of enumeration. The Library of Congress copy is also distinguished by a host of


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novel modifications, preparatory excisions, and experimental additions. These changes, most of which are partially conceived and/or randomly implemented, give evidence that the Library of Congress Laroon is a trial or proof impression taken from the plates when the ensemble was in transition from what it had been in known Overtons to what it was to become in Sayer.

But if the Library of Congress proof impression was "in transition" from Overton to Sayer, which of the two publishers actually possessed the plates when it was run off? Six prints not considered until now are appended to this volume; their identity might tend to suggest that Sayer owned the copperplates at this time. Five of these (in sequence nos. 75-79) appear as an integral part of a Laroon for the first time in Sayer (three as title pages to its first three parts) and are the hallmark of this edition. The sixth (no. 80) is a modernized version of Overton's plate sixty-four; in its updated state it too debuts as an integral part of a Laroon in Sayer (plate fifteen).

However, despite the fact that these six engravings tend to link the Library of Congress impression with Sayer, the evidence of the book as a whole argues persuasively that the copperplates were still in Overton's hands when it was run off. Nothing in the entire Library of Congress copy unequivocally identifies the plates as belonging to Sayer. His name appears nowhere on the engravings. By contrast, Henry Overton's publication line is still on the first title page and on plate thirteen. These two signatures of his possess special authority, for although a large number of other signatures were removed from the plates at this time, including Laroon's and Tempest's, Overton's was not. Had Sayer been preparing to issue his own edition, surely Overton's signature would have been the first to be banished. It seems likely then that at some point between 1711 and 1760 Overton began work on a new Laroon edition which he never issued and that it was he who was initially responsible for the plates added in the late eighteenth-century and not Sayer, as has been traditionally assumed.

The argument concerning Overton's ownership of the copperplates at the time of the Library of Congress impression is strengthened by the meager chronological evidence of the engravings themselves. L.P. Boitard who designed the impression's seventy-fifth plate (which becomes the first title page to the Sayer edition) died in 1758, so the projected edition must have been planned before that date.[7] When Henry Overton died or became inactive is not known, but neither happened before 1758 when he issued a catalogue of writing books from his White Horse without Newgate address (Muir, rev. of Kaufrufe und Strassenhändler, 562). The Sayer edition of Laroon, to which I shall now return in resuming my chronological account of this suite of engravings, did not appear until around 1760.

When Henry Overton (for whatever reason) gave up title to the copperplates


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of Laroon's Cryes, they passed into the hands of Robert Sayer. He reissued them with a title page (mentioned above) designed by the French engraver Boitard showing four children crowding around a magic lantern and its itinerant operator. The full title page of the Indiana copy of this edition reads, The Cries of London in Six parts. Being a Collection of Seventy two Humourous Prints, drawn from the Life by that Celebrated Artist Laroon, with additions & Improvements by L. P. Boitard. L. P. Boitard Delint. Ravenet Sculp. Oh. You shall See, Vat you shall See. Printed for Robt. Sayer opposite Fetter Lane Fleet Street.[8] The existence of this edition is recorded by Karen Beall who designates it E 19 (Beall, p. 136). However it has nowhere been analysed or systematically described, and it has not been adequately differentiated from a later edition issued by R. H. Laurie (E 42).

As the Boitard title page indicates, Sayer issued his Cries in six parts, each composed of twelve plates. Every one of these parts has its own title page. The title page to the second part ("No. 1. Part 2d. of the London Cries in 12 Prints.") is designated "Dainty Sweet Nosegays." Not in the Overton edition, this design shows a prettified country girl posing self-consciously in an idealized landscape. It is numbered "13" outside the picture frame in the upper right-hand corner of the page and is signed "F. Boucher Del: P. Angier Sculp." Like the title pages to the four remaining parts, it carries the publication line, "Printed for Robt. Sayer opposite Fetter Lane Fleet Street." The title page to the third part ("No. 1. Part the 3d. of the London Cries in 12 Prints"), also a new design, is called "Tiddy Diddy Doll, loll loll loll" and depicts the famous vender of gingerbread crying his wares. It is numbered "25" outside the picture frame. "No. 1. Part the 4th. of the London Cries in 12 Prints" (plate "37"), depicting a girl in a rustic setting, is entitled "Ground Ivy, Ground Ivy"; it is signed "Boucher del. J. Fougeron Sculp." The remaining title pages use designs from the Overton edition; all are numbered inside the picture frame in the upper right-hand corner. "No. 1. Part the 5th. of the London Cries in 12 Prints" (plate "49") employs "Pretty Maids Pretty Pins Pretty Women" and "No. 1. Part the 6th. of the London Cries in 12 Prints" (plate "61") uses "Crab Crab any Crabs."

In addition to the three new designs introduced as title pages to parts one, two, and three, four other new plates appear in the Sayer edition. They are: "Buy my Curds and Whey" (plate "3"); "Buy my Great Eels, buy my live Eels" (plate "11"); "Diddle Diddle Diddle Dumplens ho" (plate "50"); and "Buy my Right Yorkshire Cakes, Buy my Muffins" (plate "72"). All are executed in a popular style, and although they are cruder than Laroon's pictures, they are in harmony with them in manner and content. The same cannot be said of "Dainty Sweet Nosegays" (plate "13") and "Ground Ivy, Ground Ivy" (plate "37"), both of which are executed in a refined, artificial court style very much out of harmony with the popular idiom of Laroon's prints. Muir has identified F. Newbery's Cries of London (1775) as "perhaps


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the first appearance of this very popular subject [London cries] in the children's market."[9] However, "Buy my Curds and Whey" (plate "3") and the new title page to the Sayer edition (plate "1"), both of which feature children very prominently, together with the exclusion of the "London Curtezan" (plate "51"), suggest that by 1760 the cries of London were perceived by at least one publisher as appealing to an audience composed primarily of children.

A number of designs are carried over from the Overton Laroon but given new titles by Sayer. "The Celebrated Miss Wilkinson, The Female Wire Dancer" (plate "15") is actually "The famous Dutch Woman" (plate "64"); "The Bartholomew fair Musician" (plate "16") is "Merry Andrew on the Stage" (plate "53"); "Who rewards the Posture Masters" (plate "66") is "Clark the English Posture Master" (plate "68") and "Cook have you any Kitchen Stuff to Sell" (plate "68") is just a new title for "New River Water" (plate "16"). The use of the unmistakable water carrier for the vendor of kitchen stuff is yet another indication that this edition is something of a pastiche.

The order of plates in the Sayer edition is entirely different from that of Overton with one exception; "A Bed Matt or a Door Matt" is numbered "6" in both. The order of the plates in the Sayer edition is identical to that which Beall gives for the Laurie edition with one exception; Sayer's "Ground Ivy, Ground Ivy," (plate "37") does not appear in Laurie; in its place is "Any bakeing peares" (Beall, p. 162).

In part one of Sayer, the plates are numbered from "1" to "12" in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Thereafter, Sayer employs a dual numbering system; each part is numbered from "1" to "12" on the top lefthand side of the page and the entire publication is numbered on the top right-hand side from "13" to "72." The spelling of "Cryes" has been modernized in the title page and with it, many other words in the individual plates' titles.

Virtually all the designs in Sayer have been retouched in some manner or other. Hats have been modernized or given a neater appearance. Head scarfs have been modified to reflect changes in prevailing fashion, and necklines have been similarly restyled. In a few cases, even the faces of the criers have been cosmeticized. The alterations which occur in "The merry Milk Maid" (plate "69") are good examples of the types of changes which appear throughout the Sayer plates. In this design, the milk maid's face has been purged of its common character and given a more refined, expressive look. Her hat has been modernized, and she wears a bonnet beneath it rather than a head scarf. Her dress has been redesigned to expose her neck and reveal her bosom. The former is decorated with a string of beads; the latter is adorned with a bouquet of flowers. Her feet are positioned closely together so that she now seems to pose delicately rather than walk. Her shoes have buckles rather than bows. These fashionable and elegant modifications and


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additions make the milk maid a more perfumed figure than she previously was, a figure more appropriate to the drawing room than to the street. Already declining, the London cries have begun to incorporate the picturesque and sentimental realism and the false theatricality managed to perfection by Francis Wheatley, a seminal artist in the history of modern bad taste and banality.

No other edition of Laroon is known to have been issued in the eighteenth century, but the plates did change hands one more time, and in 1821 the last recorded edition of this ensemble was issued by R. H. Laurie under the title, The Cries of London in Six Parts. Being a Collection of Seventy Two Humourous Prints Drawn from the Life by that Celebrated Artist Laroon with Additions & Improvements by L. P. Boitard. Published 8th Sept., 1821, by R. H. Laurie. No. 53, Fleet Street, London (Beall, p. 162). On the basis of Beall's detailed account, it is possible to distinguish this edition (E 42) from the earlier one published by Sayer (E 19). Although the title seems to indicate that Laurie made use of the same six part division as Sayer, he apparently employed a single system of enumeration for his engravings rather than a dual one. In enumerating his plates, Laurie did not assign numbers to his 37th ("Any bakeing peares") and 48th ("Fine writing ink"); Sayer's 37th ("Ground Ivy, Ground Ivy") and 48th ("Fine writing ink") plates are so designated. And Laurie changed the spelling of two words in the titles to plates "24" and "41" which now read respectively, "Old shoes for some broomes" (not "Shooes"), and "Oh raree shoe" (not "Show").