Elizabeth Canning, confined in Newgate for Perjury in an Affair of a Robbery she swore was committed on her by Mary Squires, a Gypsy;Virtue Hall, Servant at Mother Wells's B---y H---e at Enfield-Wash, where Elizabeth Canning swore she was confined.; Mary Squires, the Gypsy, conversing with the Inspector General of Great-Britain.; The Witches Conference, and Broom-Stick Flight to Abbotsbury, to suborn Witnesses, &c, on Canning's Case.
Four wood engravings on folded sheet, very scarce, sheet dimensions 600 x 470mm. 23½ x 14½". Folded as issued; damaged.
A very rare set of engravings relating to the extremely controversial and divisive case of Elizabeth Canning. Canning, an 18 year-old London maidservant, claimed to have been kidnapped on New Year's Day and held for a month, in a brothel in Enfield. She accused `Mother Wells', the madam of the establishment, of trying to force her to become a prostitute, imprisoning her in an attic with only a few crusts of bread and a jug of water to live on. Canning claimed to have escaped through a window on the 29th of January 1753. Wells and Mary Squires (a woman staying at the brothel) were apprehended, and tried at the Old Bailey; the former was condemned to be hanged, and the latter was burned in the hand and imprisoned. However opinion turned against Canning and new evidence led to her being charged with perjury and transported for seven years. The top left and right engravings discuss the roles of Canning and Virtue Hall (a servant at Mother Wells' in Enfield). The bottom left shows Squires discussing the case with Dr. John Hill, a journalist who wrote a column entitled 'the Inspector'. Hill supported Squires in his column, and attacked the magistrate Henry Fielding for his support of Canning. The final engraving, 'The Witches Conference', satirises the testimony of witnesses to say that Squires had been in Abbotsbury at the time of the incident. Here, dialogue spoken by the witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth is juxtaposed with Squires as a witch saying 'I can be at Abbotsbury and Enfield-Wash, both in one day'.
For an engraving of Squires and Hill using a similar composition see stock no. 12087
[Ref: 14692] £320.00