The Genius of History, or dressing for a Mask'd Ball at Naples
Rare etching with fine hand-colouring, watermarked paper 'CM 1819'; platemark 215 x 280mm (8½ x 11") very large margins.
Princess Caroline, consort of the future George IV, changing her dress attended by Bartolomeo Bergami., her major-domo. During the regency Caroline was excluded from court and left the country to travel around the Mediterranean with Bergami. The Prince Regent, desirous of grounds for divorce, employed spies to watch Caroline and received almost weekly reports of her scandalous and improper behaviour: she was alleged to have shared a bed with Bergami on board a sailing vessel in the Bay of Naples, and to have allowed him to watch her bathe. This print refers to a ball in Naples (Vesuvius can be seen through the window) at which Caroline wore three different costumes, with Bergami said to have watched her change. One of her costumes was the Genius of History, with arms and breasts bare. Another witness claimed to have heard the couple speaking French, including the words 'mon coeur' ('my heart'), as here. Publication line taken from the impression in the British Museum, who attribute the print to Theodore Lane.
BM Satires 13890
[Ref: 41478] £280.00