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Maker(s):Bonner, Thomas
Culture:English (1735-1816)
Title:print: The Female Coterie
Date Made:1770
Materials:etching: laid paper; black ink
Place Made:United Kingdom; Great Britain: England; Great Britain: Greater London, London
Measurements:Plate: 4 1/2 in x 6 3/4 in; 11.4 cm x 17.1 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2016.12.1
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

A print depicting a scene from Samuel Foote’s play The Lame Lover. While riding with Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany in 1766, Foote was thrown from his horse and the injury cost him his leg. Even in this state, he continued to act and as possible compensation for his injury was granted a license to legally operate the Haymarket Theater. In 1770 Foote performed as Sir Luke Limp in The Lame Lover, written while he was recuperating from his amputation. The print depicts numerous card games with cheating (cards passing under tables), courting couples, and excessive drinking and gambling (mortgage and sacks of money). Copper plate engraving, labeled at the top of the print, "THE FEMALE COTERIE." and at the bottom of the print, "Well this is certainly one of the most usefull institutions!/ LAME LOVER." and "Well, this is certainly one of the most usefull institutions!_LAME LOVER." And in the print in the lower right hand corner, "T. Bonner del et sculp" Satirical print depicting gambling among fashionably dressed men and women gambled, drinking, and flirt in an interior space; the card players on the far left are passing cards under the table; the two gentlemen in the rear hold a bag of money labeled 50,000 and a mortgage deed; the center pair holds a snuff box with an image of a man inside, ladies and men drinking, hold hands, and top off their glasses. According to research by Gillian Russell, Women, Sociability and Theatre in Georgian London: This image appeared in the London Magazine, October 1770. Satirical print showing a meeting of the Ladies Club or the Coterie, a club for ladies formed in May/June 1770, which met at Almack's Rooms on Pall Mall. Its membership consisted of the Whig elite and was not exclusively female: Horace Walpole was also a member. Gillian Russell has written of how this print shows 'the stigmatization of the Coterie as a site of feminized (and feminizing) licentiousness', promoting promiscuity, adultery, drinking and irresponsible gambling, traditionally associated with gentleman's clubs but here usurped by women. Condition: some staining and dirt on the lower left hand side, trimmed within the plate mark on the right hand side edge.

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