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Caricature & Satire, Laurie & Whittle, Old Dog’s Legacy, London, Antique Print, 1800


The Old Dog’s Legacy
Laurie & Whittle, London: 1800
Black-and-white copperplate engraving
9 x 11.25 inches, sheet
7.75 x 9 inches, image

A farmer pays a visit to the vicar of his church, to discuss the burial of his deceased dog in the churchyard, as another man watches in amusement. The dialogue printed beneath the image pokes fun at how the clergyman’s principled reaction to the idea quickly changes when money is offered. In the Church of England, a vicar acts as priest of a parish in place of the rector, or as representative of a religious community to which tithes belong.



The dialogue reads:

Vicar: How could you be so profane as to Inter your Dog in the Church Yard. You are liable to be punished in the Spiritual Court.
Farmer: Why aye, Doctor, but when you consider what a sensible Creature he was, you will not be so severe, the day before he died he made his Will and left you a Legacy.
Vicar: a Legacy
Farmer: Yes he left you 6 Guineas & I’ve come to give it you, Parson.
[Vicar:] Oho if that’s the case why did you not mention it before, & he might have laid inside the Church.”

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, professionally 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).

Additional information


19th Century