George Morland. [Set of four mezzotints telling the story of a military recruit]. Mezzotints by G[eorge] Keating. London: J.R. Smith, 1791. Each print trimmed to plate mark. Each 21 1/2 x 17 1/2. Excellent impressions. Very good condition.
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Typical of Morland’s art, these pictures provide a rich narrative of British life. In “Plate 1, Trepanning a Recruit,” a young country fellow is enticed to join the army by two recruiters who use flattery and spirited drinks, while the country swain’s wife and child look on with misgivings. In “Plate 2d, Recruit Deserted,” the army officers drag him from under his bed and away from his wife and child. “Plate 3d, Deserter taking leave of his Wife” shows a sad farewell at the cabin door. “Plate 4th.,” shows the “Deserter Pardon’d” by a noble officer while other recruits march away and the wife and child rejoice. Throughout the set Morland provides much detail on customs, decorative arts, and architecture while telling the sad story of the dangers to the people of Great Britain posed by the French Revolution and other threats.