Etching. Plate 152 x 107mm. 6 x 4¼".
Samuel Drybutter was a jeweller and bookseller, who kept a shop in Westminster Hall. The newspapers often refer to him as a ‘toyman’, which means a seller of luxury goods such as jewellery, watches, and various trinkets. Dorothy George describes the etching "A portrait of Samuel Drybutter, bookseller in Westminster Hall, convicted of an ‘unnatural offence’ in 1771." He was in fact infamous and had appeared in court many times in his career as both plaintiff and defendant but in 1772 magistrates were urged to act against him. The Westminster Journal wrote "A celebrated toyman [i.e. Drybutter], not far from Westminster-hall, has taken a house in Pall-mall for the reception of a detestable set of wretches of his own stamp." Many of the satiric references to Drybutter and the members of the Macaroni Club are full of such puns on sodomy. On Monday, 30 June 1777, Drybutter tried to pick up a man in St James’s Park, who rejected his advances and reported him to two soldiers on duty there. The soldiers escorted Drybutter to Pall Mall, where they declared his offence and released him to the fury of the mob which had gathered. He was pelted with mud and severely beaten, but managed to reach his own house. Several hundred people then attacked his house, breaking all the windows and smashing up his shop, but were prevented from tearing it down by the arrival of a military party. Drybutter's arm was badly broken and his innards were so seriously bruised that he died on Saturday, 5th July.
[Ref: 21229] £240.00