Shade of a Dandy. Original pen & ink caricature of an early 19th century man, whose shadow suggests a Kangaroo.
Ca. 1820. An intriguing item. The image seems to be inspired by the anecdote related in James Boswell's book "Life of Johnson" where he describes Dr. Samuel Johnson in 1793 hopping around the room to explain to people how a kangaroo moved. The hand-penned caption below entitles it "Shade of a Dandy", the caricature poking fun of the ridiculousness of the gentleman, with his frizzy hairstyle, pointed nose and chin, holding a monocle. He stands in the corner of a room and the shadow he casts on the wall looks like a kangaroo with a suggestion of a halter. The room has flower-decorated floor covering, a border around the wall, which also has a framed landscape hanging, and a window with drapes behind him. Kangaroos have held a long fascination for the Northern hemisphere, particularly after their arrival on English shores with Joseph Banks fresh from Cook's first voyage in 1769. The man's cut of coat and slim trousers suggest an early 19th century style. 7x10" on paper 8 x 10 3/8". With some later faintly bizarre coloring on the figure of the man, in either pastel or crayon. Mounted on a larger sheet of blue paper, perhaps from an early album. Blue backing sheet with a closed tear, otherwise in very good condition. Item #20111