Murphy The Dick-tater,Alias the weather cock of the walk, A Statue to be erected near the change.
Lithograph, sheet 361 x 251mm.
A potato-headed figure with a globe for a body evidently prepared for all weathers. A satire on Patrick Murphy (1782 - 1847), weather prophet. His name was very prominent in 1838 as the author of ‘The Weather Almanack (on Scientific Principles, showing the State of the Weather for every Day of the Year 1838). By P. Murphy, Esq., M.N.S'. Under the date of 20 January he said ‘Fair, prob. lowest deg. of winter temp.’ By a happy chance this proved to be a remarkably cold day, the thermometer at sunrise standing at four degrees below zero. This circumstance raised his celebrity to a great height as a weather prophet, and the shop of his publishers, Messrs. Whittaker & Co., was besieged with customers, while the winter of 1837-8 became known as Murphy's winter. The 1838 almanac ran to forty-five editions, and the prophet made 3,000l., which he almost immediately lost in an unsuccessful speculation in corn. There was nothing very remarkable about the prediction, as the coldest day generally falls about 20 Jan. In the predictions throughout the year the forecasts were partly right on 168 days and decidedly wrong on 197 days. A popular song of the day, a parody on ‘Lesbia has a beaming eye,’ commenced ‘Murphy has a weather eye.’ The almanack was afterwards occasionally published, but its sale very much fell off after the ‘nine days' wonder’ was past, and ultimately it had a very limited circulation. Murphy, however, persevered in his pursuit, and was about bringing out an almanac for 1848, when he died at his lodgings, 108 Dorset Street, St. Bride's, London, in 1847, aged 65.
Ex: Collection of The Hon. C. Lennox-Boyd.
[Ref: 7559] £280.00