Francophilia in English Society, 1748–1815 by Robin Eagles (auth.)

By Robin Eagles (auth.)

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Two prints of the later 1740s demonstrate this perfectly. Both are entitled The Agreeable Contrast, in the first Prince Charles, `The Italian Fugitive', is represented sitting at a desk in Highland dress, his plans and hopes scattered in ruins at his feet. In the second, Prince Charles is found in a rural setting accompanied by Flora MacDonald and an elegant greyhound. On the right of the piece stands Cumberland, bearing a knife, in butcher's apron, accompanied by a prostitute and an elephant. While Flora MacDonald exclaims: `Oh!

The sight of a Poll Dab giving Monsieur a hearty drubbing is a frequent theme, and the fact that the same subject matter was utilised both by satirists of the Macaronis, as well as of French visitors, demonstrates well the association in the minds of the printmakers between the French and the otherwise Italianate fops. 45 Hogarth's vision of such worthy souls as Poll or Sal Dab, however, allows little room for fantasy. If Frenchmen were the purveyors of frippery and deceit, it is difficult to judge them overly harshly when set against the gin-soaked human wreckage that epitomized Hogarth's London.

One particular English family group is gathered to welcome an abbeÂ, the children all dressed conspicuously and identically in the height of French foppery. This was a European custom much scorned among the English: the dressing of juniors in adult fashion. Clothes, though, were not Boitard's primary concern here; more worrying was the question of corrupting influence. Thus part of the caption draws one's attention to: `A Lady of distinction offering the Tuition of her Son and Daughter to a cringing French Abbe disregarding the Corruption of their Religion, so they do but obtain the true French Accent .

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