|Published||Pubd. by W. Richardson. Castle Street. Leicester Fields [c. 1795]|
|Dimensions||Image 95 x 82 mm, Plate 178 x 145 mm, Sheet 245 x 158 mm|
A standing quarter length portrait of Moll Cutpurse, wearing men's clothes, a jacket with large slitted sleeves, a flat white collar, a hat and a sword at the hip. Her left hand is pointing up at a bird, while she is flanked by a lion to the left and a monkey to the right.
Inscription underneath title: "See here the Presidesse o'th pilfring Trade ... But if her Features please not read her Feats."
Mary Frith or Moll Cutpurse (c. 1584 – 1659) was a notorious pickpocket, thief, who also dealt in her stolen goods, and entertained as a fencer in the English underground. Her nickname "Moll Cutpurse" was a pun: Moll, apart from being a nickname for Mary, was a common name for a young woman (usually of disreputable character) and Cutpurse denoted her reputation as a thief (who would cut purses straight from her victims clothing). The other name by which she was known, "The Roaring Girl" is taken from roaring boys, who were young gentlemen who caroused in taverns, and then picked brawls on the street. This name refers to her role as an entertainer, who performed in taverns, tobacco shops and playhouses, usually cross dressing, and probably providing a distraction for her accomplices to pickpocket the crowd.
after O'Donoghue 1
Condition: Good impression with wide margins.