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This gentle satire shows a public eating house or 'ordinary', where a meal was provided at a fixed time and a set price. Needless to say, the atmosphere is chaotic. The diners eagerly attack the food, tussling with their neighbours to get their fill. A print from Rowlandson's drawing was published in 1811. There, the eating house is identified as Hornsey Wood House, which offered an 'ordinary' on Sundays at 2 pm: 'Hot roast and boiled from two to five/ Dinners drest on the shortest notice'.

September 2004