A woman falling headfirst through an open cellar-door outside a pharmacy, and a man expressing his concern. Coloured etching by I. Cruikshank after G.M. Woodward, 1798.
- Woodward, G. M. (George Moutard), approximately 1760-1809.
- April 28 1798
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About this work
On the left is the shop window of a pharmacy with bottles of liquids on display and the lettering "Cordials & compounds" on the lintel. On the wall next to the window, a sign composed of two clasped hands. The British Museum catalogue, loc. cit., interprets this as the sign of a brothel. However, it had been the emblem of the Hand-in-Hand Fire Office since about 1713, and the sign was placed on buildings insured with the Office. In 1836 the company became the Hand-in-Hand Fire and Life Insurance Society: it operated its own fire brigade and made a significant contribution to fire fighting and fire prevention legislation. It insured Samuel Whitbread's first brewery in 1743 and John Wesley's Methodist chapel in 1813 (website of Aviva plc, 26 August 2004)