|B. Cole Sculp. [c.1752]
|Image 182 x 104 mm, Sheet 198 x 117 mm
A three-quarter length portrait of the poisoner Miss Mary Blandy, standing looking to her right with a flower in her left hand, engraved by Benjamin Cole for the New Universal Magazine 'from an Original painting.' Below the portrait, a vignette shows Blandy being hanged on a gallows pole supported by two trees outside Oxford Gaol. A large crowd has gathered to watch the execution, and a parson stands alongside the scaffold's ladder. An inscription along the bottom margin reads: 'Aged 33 and Executed at Oxford April 6, 1752, for poisoning her Father.'
Mary Blandy (1720 -1752) was the only child of Francis Blandy, a lawyer in Henley, Oxfordshire, whom she murdered. In 1746, Mary met Captain William Henry Cranstoun, and the two intended to marry in 1751. It was revealed, however, that Cranstoun was already married to a woman in Scotland, with whom he had a child. Mary's father greatly disapproved of Cranstoun, and was not convinced by his claims that he would leave his wife for Mary. Mary went on to poison her father, adding arsenic into his food, which led to his death. Mary claimed that Cranstoun had sent her the arsenic under the pretence that it was a love potion, stating that if she gave it to her father, it would cause him to approve of their relationship. Mary was, however, found guilty, and hanged outside of Oxford Castle prison on April 6th, 1752.
Benjamin Cole (1697-1783) was an English printmaker, who engraved, printed and sold prints from his shop at St Paul's Church in London. He also produced a wide variety of book illustrations, and is not to be confused with the near contemporary map engraver of the same name (1667-1729), who was active in Oxford.
Condition: Trimmed within plate and graingerised into album page. Minor time toning to edges of sheet, and some dirt staining to surface.