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This is one of many small comic drawings made by Nathaniel Dance after he retired from professional portrait painting in the early 1780s. The drawings, like this one, are playful and inventive, although their subject matter and meaning is often difficult to make out.

 

Dance made these drawings purely for pleasure, at a time when comic art was seen as a hobby for gentlemen-amateurs. His brother, George Dance, who practised as an architect, was also a keen
amateur caricaturist.

September 2004