Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style by Ian Kelly (Author)

Nov 11, 12:53 AM


(Photo:English: "Harmony before Matrimony", an October 25th 1805 caricature by James Gillray depicting a musical courtship. The woman plays a harp, and the man and woman sing together from "Duets de l'Amour". On the table, a book is open to Ovid (who would not have been considered suitable as reading-matter for girls or unmarried women in 1805). The hanging floral wall decorations include torches of Hymen (the ancient Roman god of weddings) on the left, and the bow and quiver of arrows of Cupid on the right. An oval-wall painting shows Cupid having dropped his bow and arrows, and shooting at a pair of cooing doves with a blunderbuss! At the left are two goldfish in a bowl, above a heart-shaped imitation-antique vase with a female sphinx decoration. Two cats do not appear to be influenced by the musical harmony, and are quarreling on top of music scores left on the floor.

A companion Gillray caricature "Matrimonial Harmonics" was published the same day, depicting the sorry state of a husband and wife (several years after marriage) who never had much in common except music (which the husband is now much less interested in than is the wife, while the wife is more interested in music than in her duties as a wife and mother). This pair of caricatures satirizes the system by which middle- and upper-class girls were taught music, drawing, and French in order to attract a husband -- an education which didn't necessarily help them to make the best of living in marriage.

Edited from image on the Library of Congress website.

Bibliographic details found on the LoC site:

TITLE: Harmony before Matrimony / Js. Gillray, des. & Ft.

CALL NUMBER: PC 1 - 10472 (A size) [P&P]

REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZC4-8786 (color film copy transparency) No known restrictions on publication.

SUMMARY: A young woman and a fashionably dressed young man singing a duet. The woman plays a harp while looking over her shoulder at the music book, "Duets de L'Amour", which the man holds. On the table between the two is an open copy of Ovid's "Art of Love." Two cats play on sheets of music; two goldfish swim in a bowl; two roses grow in a vase. Other images reflect the concept of couples and love.

MEDIUM: 1 print : etching, hand-colored.

CREATED/PUBLISHED: [London] : H. Humphrey, 1805 October 25th.

CREATOR: Gillray, James, 1756-1815, engraver.

NOTES: Catalog of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires, v. 8, no. 10472 Forms part of: British Cartoon Collection (Library of Congress). Exhibited: Gillray and the Art of Caricature.



Couples--Great Britain--1800-1810.


FORMAT: Etchings Hand-colored 1800-1810. Cartoons (Commentary) British 1800-1810.

REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

DIGITAL ID: (color film copy transparency) cph 3g08786

CARD #: 2001695077

Date 25 October 1805

Source Edited from image on the Library of Congress website.


James Gillray (1756–1815) Blue pencil.svg wikidata:Q520806 s:en:Author:James Gillray

(image editor and uploader: User:Churchh)


Public domain 

This work is in the public domain  )

Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style by Ian Kelly (Author)