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The Gin Lane Gazette

By Paul Lay | Posted 17th December 2012, 10:51
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The Gin Lane Gazette
Adrian Teal
Unbound   112pp   £20

Copies can be purchased from the website: www.unbound.co.uk/books/gin-lane-gazette

Adrian Teal, whose Baroque cartoons have graced the pages of History Today, was born in the wrong century. From his exile in the 21st he gazes back lovingly – and sometimes lecherously – on the 18th century. Hanoverian England provides rich pickings for this brilliant cartoonist-cum-satirist, with its cast of quacks, fops and courtesans set against a background of political intrigue, squalor, licentiousness and greed, all overseen by a mad monarch.

The Gin-Lane Gazette is beautifully produced, typeset in the crude but captivating fonts of the age, with the long S predominant, a wonderful frame for Teal’s skilful and often rude illustrations. Its compendium of bizarre stories are all based on actual historical events, ranging from the fighting parson of Vauxhall Gardens; Mary Tofts, who gave birth to 17 rabbits; the amputation of Josiah Wedgwood’s leg and an account of the ‘terrible conflagration at Mr Langdale’s Gin Distillery, Begun by Lord Gordon’s Anti-Papist Mob’.

In addition, we have the pleasure of the  ‘Votary of Venus’, a monthly celebration of the loveliest females of the age, including one Kitty Fisher, ‘perhaps the most admir’d & lov’d Nymph of the frail Sisterhood’. A pleasure indeed.

Paul Lay is the editor ofHistory Today


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