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Caricature & Satire, British, Chimney Sweep, Antique Print, London, 1840s

$300

Morning Practice: Stolen Notes
(Music for the Million No. 1)

Dean & Co., London: c. 1843-1846
Hand-colored lithograph
11 x 8.25 inches
$300

A young chimney sweep, his face, hands and clothes blackened with soot, has poked his head out of one chimney and is playing the flute at sunrise (the time on the clock reading 5:15). His sheet music is balanced on the next chimney, opened to a song titled There’s a Sweet Little Cherub. That line comes from Poor Jack, a popular sailing ballad by the prolific songwriter Charles Dibden (1745-1814) in a verse that ends:

“There’s a sweet little cherub sits perch’d up aloft,
To keep watch for the life of poor Jack.”

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Description

The song and those lines were widely known in that era, so the humor of the grimy chimney sweep as a “sweet little cherub…perch’d aloft” would have been obvious. Just how popular the song was can be gauged by an 1881 article in the periodical The Literary World that reported, “Charles Dibdin’s ‘Poor Jack’ was sold to a publisher by its author, with some other songs, for $300, but had long since netted the publisher upwards of $25,000.”

Dean & Co. was a London printer and publisher of lithographic and woodcut satires, children’s books, jigsaw puzzles, and portrait engravings. The company was founded before 1800 by Thomas Dean and traded under his name until 1810. Thereafter it was known as Dean & Munday from 1811 to 1842, Dean and Co. between 1843 and 1846, and Thomas Dean & Son from 1847 when George Alfred Dean became a partner in the firm until after 1871. In 1921 it was bought by Odham’s the imprint continued until sometime after 1933.

Full publication information: Dean & Co. Threadneedle St.

Condition:  Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, with some remaining toning and wear.

References:

“Dean & Co (Biographical details).” British Museum. 10 March 2016. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=127459 (14 August 2018).

“Dean, Thomas.” Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in Book History. http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/london-1775-1800-d.html (14 August 2018).

“Some of Our Familiar Songs.” The Literary World. 8 October 1881. p. 347. Online at Google Books. https://books.google.com/books?id=2DMZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA347 (16 August 2018).

The Cyclopaedia of Popular Songs. London: W. Tegg, 1866. p. 192. Online at Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=rzlDAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA192 (16 August 2018).

Additional information

Century

19th Century