Falstaff in the Buck Basket (Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 3)

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Peters's image centers on a misadventure of Sir John Falstaff suffered as he attempts to seduce two knowing Windsor housewives. The image was conceived for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, launched in 1786 as a publishing-cum-exhibition scheme that included a new illustrated edition of the plays, sets of large and small engravings, and a gallery on London's Pall Mall. The latter opened in 1789 with thirty-four paintings and contained about one hundred and seventy works the time Boydell went bankrupt and auctioned the contents in 1805–his print sales plummeted when Napoleon blocaded European ports. This impression comes from an American reissue of 1852 spearheaded by Shearjashub Spooner, a New York dental surgeon and art scholar who acquired Boydell's heavily worn plates and had them reworked. His New York edition was printed on thick cream paper with small numbers added in the lower left margin, this being number 12.

Falstaff in the Buck Basket (Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 3), Peter Simon (British, London ca. 1764–1813 Paris), Stipple engraving

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