Elizabeth Canning At the House of Mother Wells at Enfield Wash.This young Creature, whose Modesty and General Conduct had always recommended her where known, was kidnapt on the 1st of January last [...]
Publish'd March 3.d 1753 according to Act of Parliam.t by W. Herbert on London Bridge.
Etching, sheet 350 x 250mm (13¾ x 9¾"). Trimmed inside platemark; repaired hole in centre. Rare.
Detailed print made in response to the alleged kidnapping of scullerymaid Elizabeth Canning, which caused a sensation in 1753. Canning disappeared for a month before returning to her mother's home. Susannah Wells and Mary Squires, Canning's alleged captors, were tried and found guilty. However, Crisp Gascoyne, trial judge and Lord Mayor of London, was unhappy with the verdict and began his own investigation which led to information proving Squires and her family to be innocent. Several of the prosecution witnesses recanted their earlier testimonies and Canning was tried and found guilty of perjury. She was sentenced to one month's imprisonment and seven years of transportation. 'This print was published during the first of the Canning trials, evidently without time being taken to check facts. Mary Squires is mistakenly called Elizabeth Squires- she is shown holding the stays, the alleged theft of which was to bring her a sentence of death- and Canning'smother is described as living in Rosemary Lane, whereas this was the address of the aunt and uncle whom the girl had visited on 1 January. In spite of the annotation 'Drawn from the Life', Squires's appearance bears no relation to that of the scrofulous woman whose image was to become so familiar to Londoners over the following months' (O'Connell).
Sheila O'Connell, 'London 1753' cat 1.59
[Ref: 31072] £320.00