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Caricature & Satire, Laurie & Whittle, Oatlands Drunken Ramble, London, Antique Print, 1806


Oatland’s Ramble, Plate 453
Laurie & Whittle, 53 Fleet Street, London: December 26, 1806
Black-and-white copperplate engraving
9.25 x 11.5 inches, sheet

Humorous illustrated song lyrics about a drunken binge in a section of London called Oatlands. According to the inscription, the song was performed by Mr. Smith to “unbounded applause” in the Rival Patriots at Sadler’s Wells, a London theater that has been a place of entertainment since Dick Sadler opened a “musick house” there in the 1680s. In the early 19th Century, Sadler’s Wells was known for pantomime, light opera and variety acts, largely because London’s three Royal Theatres had a legally enforced monopoly on “regular drama.” The illustration apparently depicts the performer singing the song while gesturing toward a scene of the drunken protagonist passed out at a table in a tavern.


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.

Oatland’s Ramble, in the Rival Patriots, at Sadler’s Wells
Sung by Mr. Smith with Unbounded Applause1
In Featherbed-lane, I arose,
Went to Milk-street, my breakfast to find;
To Pudding-lane next then I goes,
Between that and Pie-corner I din’d:
Being thirsty, I wander’d again,
A place proper for drinking to meet;
I didn’t much like Water-lane,
So got tipsy in Liquorpond-street.2
But not having here drank my fill,
In Sun-street, I finish’d the game,
Till my head it was all Addle-hill,
And down Gutter-lane sprawling I came;
Leg-alley to master I try’d,
But found ’twas all Labour-in-vain,
For, I Stagger’d from side to side,
And thought ev’ry place Crooked-lane.3
At the Brewers, I got a fresh pot,
At the Tumble-down-Dick had a fall,
At the Green Man and Still spirits got,
But stuck fast in the Hole in the Wall;
At the Shoulder of Mutton and Cat,
Grown hungary, I eat like a glutton,
For your Cat, says I, you may take that,
(Snapping his Fingers)
Only give me the Shoulder of Mutton.4
Now, wanting a good parting cup,
A doller I spent at the Crown;
And being completely knock’d up,
By the Hammer and Hand was knock’d down.
In the watch-house I got, don’t know how;
Then being, as quickly I found,
As tipsey as Davy’s old sow,
I look’d like the Hog in the pound.

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


“A brief history.” Sadler’s Wells. London. (16 May 2002).

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).

Additional information


19th Century