Peter, the Wild Boy [parallel text in French]In the Year 1725, King George the I.s Hunting in the Herenhausen / This Boy was discover'd in a Hollow Tree [...]
Sold by Ryland, Bryer; & Co. at the Kings Arms, Cornhill.
Mezzotint, platemark 510 x 360mm (20 x 14"). Creased and damaged (some repairs); artist and engraver names faded. Trimmed.
Peter 'the Wild Boy' (c.1712-85), a curiosity of the 18th century. Found in the woods near Hamelin (around 25 miles from Hanover in Germany) in 1725, contemporary pamphleteers claim he was walking on all fours, climbing trees like a squirrel, and living off grass and moss. Peter was taken to see George I who was visiting Hanover, he was brought to England in 1726, where unsuccessful attempts were made to teach him to speak. He was briefly a celebrity: Queen Caroline took an interest in Peter's education, he was painted by William Kent, was cared for by the prominent physicist John Arbuthnot, and was the subject of works by Defoe and Swift. After Queen Caroline's death. In 1728 he was given a pension to live in Hertfordshire, where he performed manual work under supervision. However, after repeatedly wandering away from the farm where he boarded, Peter was apprehended and fitted with a brass collar (shown in the lower right of this print). Peter died in 1785 and was buried at St Mary's, Northchurch, Hertfordshire, where his gravestone is now Grade II listed.
Ex: collection of the Hon. C. Lennox-Boyd; CS 102.ii; Whitman: 2 II of II.
[Ref: 36363] £160.00