Monday, June 15, 2009

She's Not Wearing Any!

This satirical print entitled "The Abusive Fruitwoman" c 1773, offers us a look at a larger lady in working class dress who is most obviously not wearing stays. She is wearing typical working class attire including a bedgown, apron, short cloak, petticoat, practical shoes and black silk bonnet, but no stays. She appears to be in the process of giving the passing young woman a tongue lashing, the assumption is the young fashion follower is a prostitute as it would make no sense to verbally abuse a lady of quality who would be a potential customer. The young boy in the print is taking advantage of the fruit woman's distraction and stealing from her table, with a sly finger to his nose.


  1. The fashionable young woman's petticoat is just about see-through!

  2. I think the assumption that the other woman is a prostitute is a bit of a leap, frankly. Why does everyone seem to be so hung up on labelling women in 18th c. art "prostitutes"?

  3. The topics of the British Satires often feature prostitution as a topic. After politics, sex is the most popular theme and in that category of sex,lampooning prostitutes would rank first, followed by women cheating on their husbands, old lusting after young etc. I do not know why the British thought the concept of prostitution was so amusing, but they sold prints and that was the idea. Sex sells.


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