Resource/book: "My, what a big p- ipe you have, Horatio!" – Naval Naughtiness in the 18th Century

12 June, 2007 at 10:02 pm 1 comment

“Ah where & ah where, is my gallant sailor gone?
He’s gone to fight ye Frenchmen, for George upon the Throne
t’loose t’other arm and eye
And left me with the old antiques,
to lay me down and cry.”

Nelson

Having finished “Frigate Commander” (review to follow), I’ve now started to read my way through

CITY OF LAUGHTER – Sex And Satire In Eighteenth-Century London
by Vic Gatrell

Botanists among you might order this tome for its sheer weight – you could press cactuses with this thingy, trust me. But it’s worth every pound, and I’m not only talking about the price, which, at £35, was rather hefty, but you can currently order it over at Amazon for £18 at the moment. It was the original price as well as weight restrictions by BA which made me order it from Amazon rather than buying it at my beloved Hatchard’s in London. The reason I mention this is because a book like “City Of Laughter” is just made to be sold at a bookshop like Hatchard’s, established in 1797.

Sex, celebrities and gossip are not inventions of our time. Considering the scandals described in this book, and the surprisingly open and loud (and lewd!) way they were dealt with, we can all point, laugh and mock at everybody who tries to tell us that those times were modest. Heh! Modest! Pull the other one…

This is London how many of us might have never imagined it, and certainly never encountered during history lessons – lewd, rude, sexy, scandalous, and through the eyes of the caricaturists, we come to understand how people might have seen their lives back in the late 18th, early 19th century. Royals are dragged through the mud, the daily fights and crimes on London’s street are mercilessly shown, and you’ll find more prostitutes in this book than in the redlight district of Amsterdam.

There are tons of anecdotes, stories and wonderful prints to admire, but for now, I’ll leave you with the Royal Navy – is anybody surprised good old Horatio Nelson makes an appearance…?
LAUNCHING A FRIGATE

Rowlandson
Rowlandson (Tegg, 1809)

Please look at the exploding chimney in the background – the artist was hinting the male reaction to the “launched frigate”. Subtle, wasn’t he!
CATTLE NOT INSURABLE

Rowlandson
Rowlandson (Ackermann, 1809)

Now see, that’s what used to happen on the Dauntless while Norrington was away playing Whist with Gov. Swann… “Cattle Not Insurable” shows a boatload of prostitutes being ferried to service the sailors on the ships berthed at Portsmouth.

DIDO, IN DISPAIR

Dido in dispair
Gillray (H. Humphrey 1801)

That, ladies and gentlefolks, is Emma Lady Hamilton. At sea, you can see Horatio Nelson’s fleet, and Emma laments: “Ah where & ah where, is my gallant sailor gone? He’s gone to fight ye Frenchmen, for George upon the throne / t’loose t’other arm and eye / And left me with the old antiques, to lay me down and cry.”

The “old antiques” being, of course, her elderly husband, sleeping peacefully in the bed. The book by the window shows a picture of naked Emma in her – eh – less voluptuous days.

Now this one – this one is my favourite. This is such a sly, evil, beastly, NAUGHTY and brilliant piece of art that it should be framed in gold:
MY, WHAT A BIG P- IPE YOU HAVE, HORATIO!

Nelson
Isaac Cruikshank (Fores, 1800)

This is a thing of beauty. On the right, you can see Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson smoking. Please note the size and the shape of Nelson’s – pipe. Pipe, like totally the pipe! The sourly looking gentleman to the left who has his (very, very small pipe!) lit by a sailor is Lord Hamilton, Emma’s husband. The sailor says to him that his “pipe is too short, ’tis quite worn out, it wants a new life” (heh!).

Emma, on the other hand, tells Nelson: “‘Pho, the old man’s pipe is allways out but yours burns with full vigour.”

Nelson replies: “Yes yes, I’ll give you such a smoke I’ll pour a whole broadside into you.”

…!

Welcome to the modest and decent 18th century, folks!

More to follow, as soon as I’ve stopped laughing my backside off about the – broadside.

*howl*

''

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Entry filed under: 18th century, art, books, naughty, nelson, resource, royal navy. Tags: , , , , , , .

My book: third teaser posted, and finally some information! Resource/Art: Royal Navy Naughtiness in the 18th Century: Part II

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