Tales of Wonder!

James Gillray British
Publisher Hannah Humphrey British

Not on view

Gillray uses four well-dressed women seated around a table to parodiy the current literary taste for Gothic novels. Within a luxuriously furnished room, the figure at right reads from "The Monk" (a sensational tale by Matthew Gregory Lewis published in 1796), with horror and fascination evident on the faces of her companions. A watch hanging from the reader's waist gives the time at 12.45 pm. The mood is heightened by grotesque ornaments on the chimney-piece–a gorgon, a skeleton surrounded by snakes, and a dragon, and the dramatic plot echoed by a relief below the mantle showing of Pluto carrying off Persephone, and a picture on the wall of a knight abducting a woman.

Tales of Wonder!, James Gillray (British, London 1756–1815 London), Hand-colored etching and aquatint

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