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Caricature & Satire, Laurie & Whittle, Irish Song Sheet, London, Antique Print, 1807


Sprig of Shillelah and Shamrock so Green
Laurie & Whittle, London: 1807
Black and white copperplate engraving
11.25 x 8.5 inches

Song lyrics illustrated with a line engraving of two Irish men signed Paxton in the plate, one wearing a hat decorated with a shamrock and holding up a shillelagh (Irish wooden club), the other raising his pipe. Other small groups of people gather in tents in the background. The print is subtitled “(Tune-‘Black Joke.’). Sung with unbounded applause by Mr. Johnstone, of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.”


The Theatre Royal at Drury Lane has been a London fixture since 1663. Productions of Shakespeare and other plays were held there, paired with secondary attractions such as comedies, dances and musical entertainments. The Mr. Johnstone mentioned in the subtitle of this print was one of the regular actors.

Robert Laurie (1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) were London map, chart and printsellers active from 1794 to 1812 trading variously as Laurie and Whittle or Whittle and Laurie. Laurie began his career as a fine mezzotint engraver and exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1770 to 1776. With Whittle, they took over the large map and print business of Robert Sayer. Laurie & Whittle published many atlases and maps and products used for jigsaw puzzles. Robert’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, succeeded him upon his retirement in 1812, and after Whittle’s death in 1818 carried on the business alone until at least 1840. The firm still exists as Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson Ltd., which has long specialized in marine charts.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases. Few short marginal tears neatly restored.


Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. 2001. and (18 March 2002).

“Playbills.” Philadelphia Rare Book & Manuscript Company. 2002. (26 April 2002).

Additional information


19th Century