The History of Love

These two companion prints, published in 1743, illustrate the wares on offer for those who have found it difficult to find a match, whether owing to their age, vulgar behaviour, illness – or simply the unfortunate arrangement of their facial features.

In the eighteenth century, to be so obviously considered unsaleable goods was something of an embarrassment, and both unmarried men and women fell prey to a little public ridicule. However, as the verses printed below each image illustrate, the reality of such a fate was much harsher for women, unless they happened to command a large independent fortune and a good deal of respect.

Let’s take a closer look, and see what we can learn from these poor neglected creatures.

The Old Bachelors

lwlpr01117Ten decaying old gentlemen sit in a rather fine-looking room, presumably to debate the political hot topics of the day and bemoan the infirmities that come…

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