Quelle Noble['t' crossed, altered to 'sse'], _ Virtue et Opera__Against such lewdsters and their lechery, Those who expose them do no treachery. Shake.
Rare and fine hand coloured etching, image 220 x 330mm. 8¾ x 13". Trimmed within plate.
Social satire: politician James Duff, 4th Earl of Fife (1776 - 1857), driving his a curricle or gig with a groom behind him, his mistress the French ballet dancer Marie-Élisabeth Noblet (1801 - 1852) beside him; she indicates a sheet assigning her £500 a year with a fife (flute). She says: 'I can play upon de Fife any ting I like'. The groom holds a letter: ‘To Madle Bias’ and looks at the viewer knowingly. The hind-quarters and docked tails of the horses are visible on the extreme left. Part of the ground floor of a large corner-house forms the background. Fife's attentions to opera-dancers and especially to Mlle Noblet who was in London in 1821 and 1822 were well known. He lavished a fortune on her, and in return 'asked nothing more than the lady's flattery and professions of affection'. Gronow, Reminiscences, 1892, i. 121, 304. Fanny Bias was also a famous French dancer. The title puns on the Fife family motto. The quotation after the title is from Shakespeare's 'Merry Wives of Windsor' Act V Scene III.
BM Satires 14276.
[Ref: 19603] £260.00