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Man-midwives attempting to deliver a monstrous woman representing the Dutch National Convention. Etching attributed to James Gillray, 1796, after David Hess.

Hess, David, 1770-1843.
Date
[1797?]

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Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Wellcome Collection
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Description

In the centre sits a woman with seven heads of different animals. Her legs are spread and a devil is pulling on a looped cord or pushing a pitchfork up beneath her clothes. To left and right of her are two man-midwives. On the left is an old-fashioned Dutchman who wears spectacles and a wig and consults a book labelled "Sectio caes: et sectio synchondroseos". On the right is a modern revolutionary Frenchman who does not wear a wig and holds a pair of crude forceps. The first Dutch National Convention (Nationale Vergadering) took place from 1 March 1796 to 31 August 1797

Lettering

De Nationale Conventie in barensnood van eene constitutie.

Publication/Creation

[London] : [H. Humphrey?], [1797?]

Physical description

1 print : etching, printed in sanguine ; platemark 27.6 x 21.8 cm

Notes

Accompanied in the series by text from Old Testament selected from a concordance by Hess (Eschmann p. 69), Isaiah XIV, 29: "Her fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent"

Publications note

British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. 7, London 1942, no. 8864

Ernst Eschmann, David Hess (1770-1843): sein Leben und seine Werke, Aarau 1910, pp. 68-72

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 723664i

Creator/production credits

Eschmann p. 70 says that the drawings by Hess were "von dem berühmten englischen Kupferstecher Humphries radiert und in London gedruckt. Zugleich verbesserte er Zeichnungsfehler, hob die characteristischen Elemente des Originals mehr heraus und brachte das Ganze noch durch Schattierung in Haltung". The Harvard catalogue (Hollis plus, 2001) says for that reason that the attribution to Gillray is wrong. Yet as the British Museum catalogue says, in view of the figure-style, it is more reasonable to infer from these words that the drawings were entrusted to Hannah Humphrey to have etched and published, and that Gillray, whose prints she published, did the etching, than to suppose that William Humphrey or Ozias Humphry did the etching in the manner of Gillray

Language

  • Dutch


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License information

You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.

Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Credit

Man-midwives attempting to deliver a monstrous woman representing the Dutch National Convention. Etching attributed to James Gillray, 1796, after David Hess. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY


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