Gay's Fables [School piece or Penmanship sheet]

Publisher John Farrell British
Related author John Gay British
Inscribed text by Joshua Brookes British

Not on view

This print is decorated at the top and sides with nine scenes from Gay's Fables, the images framed with Rococo swags and ribbons. These moralizing stories were originally written in rhyming couplets by John Gay in 1727 to amuse William Augustus, the third son of George II who was then six years old. Moral verses inscribed here at center in pen and ink were added in 1783 by Joshua Brookes, a student at Mr. Trubey's Academy, Red Lion Court, Bermondsey Street, London (see 26.28.801 for another sheet inscribed by Brookes in 1786). The work comes from a genre known as writing sheets, writing blanks, penmanship exercises, letter sheets or school pieces, published in Britain ca. 1660 to 1860 and used by students to demonstrate their handwriting abilities.

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