A discussion group attended by glum, ugly, and bored people. Stipple engraving after H.W. Bunbury, 1782.

  • Bunbury, Henry William, 1750-1811.
Feb.y 11th 1782
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About this work


Nine people sit in a semicircle around a man seated in the front (he is seen from behind). A black servant or slave holds a tray containing teacups. A French servant on the left hands round slices of bread. Apparently a humorous contrast between elevated discussion of cultural matters and the unattractiveness of most of the people attending. On the right, two younger people pay no attention to the discussion: a young woman fiddles with her fan, and a young man engages with the young woman

"In Conversazione (BM 6141, cat[alogue] no. 21) Bunbury pokes fun at a countrified version of the assemblies held in town by Mrs Montagu ("Queen of the Blues") and other prominent literary hostesses: almost everyone here appears either too shy or too bored to participate."--Riely, loc. cit. At the soirées hosted by the "bluestocking" Elizabeth Montagu (from 1781 in Montagu House, Portman Square) the participants were also seated in a semicircle


London (No 158 New Bond Street) : Publish'd ... by W. Dickinson engraver & printseller, Feb.y 11th 1782.

Physical description

1 print : stipple engraving ; platemark 42.7 x 54.8 cm


Conversazione. H. Bunbury esq.r delin.t ; W. Dickinson excudit.

References note

John Riely, 'Henry William Bunbury: the amateur as caricaturist', in Hugh Belsey, Henry William Bunbury 1750-1811, Sudbury: Gainsborough's House, 1983, p. 4.


Wellcome Collection 35104i


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