Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Drawing, Paul Sandby, c1745, British Museum.
Thanks to Adam Hodges-LeClaire for pointing out this piece to me.
This drawing is one of a series done by Sandby in and around Edinburgh in the immediate wake of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Sandby's study shows a few people walking bout two, and a woman with what appears to be a broom. The British Museum's catalog states that she is a beggar woman, but I confess I'm not entirely sure why.
In the foreground, a man with a bob wig and cocked hat with short brim (possibly a sea captain) converses with a common sailor who walks beside.
Our sailor wears a hat or cap with a broad brim. At first I thought this must be a wide brimmed round hat, but Adam argues that it may be a Peter the Great cap, or a high crowned knit cap that was mean to appear like a felt hat. Obviously, a sketch is not enough to tell us whether this is a knit or felt. Atop his head and beneath the cap or hat is a bob wig. a jacket with scalloped mariners' cuffs buttoned closed, and a pair of flap pockets at the waist. His petticoat trousers run down to just below the knee, so we can see his white stockings and pointed toe shoes.
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Might the 'beggar woman' be a crossing sweeper? Seems like the sort of occuaption a street person might adopt: find an old broom and move the horse pucks away from in front of the nobs and maybe get a farthing for your time.ReplyDelete