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Print - The Gypsy
  • The Gypsy
    Wilkie, David Sir, RA, born 1785 - died 1841
  • Enlarge image

The Gypsy

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    england (made)

  • Date:

    1817 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wilkie, David Sir, RA, born 1785 - died 1841 (designer)
    Meyer, Henry Hoppner, born 1782 - died 1847 (engraver)
    Macdonald, Thomas (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support and assistance from the Friends of the V&A, the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund, and the Marks Trust

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, Room 88a, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries, case CA2

This print entitled 'The Gyspsy' is a mezzotint by H. Meyer published in 1817 after a painting by David Wilkie. The gypsies or Roumani people have long fascinated the European civilised society. They were particularly favoured in the Victorian literature as a stereotype of the wild and exotic. Another impression is in the Wellcome Library (L0013692) and in the British Museum (1840,0314.207).

Physical description

A young mother is shown sat against a fence, wearing a bonett and cloak, feeding a young bonetted baby who she holds in her arms.

Folio 34r of the album.

Place of Origin

england (made)


1817 (published)


Wilkie, David Sir, RA, born 1785 - died 1841 (designer)
Meyer, Henry Hoppner, born 1782 - died 1847 (engraver)
Macdonald, Thomas (publisher)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed in pencil on the paper on which the print is mounted:

"The Gipsy Mother Wilkie"


Height: 19.8 cm, Width: 15.0 cm

Object history note

Structure and contents of the prints and drawings album of A.C. Ionides

18th or early 19th century album, 54 fols., 235 x 180 mm.

Case binding of half maroon leather with paper sides, blind roll tooled across corners and down board edge at joint, three line gold tooling across spine to make five panels into which a centre decoration of lyres has been tooled in gold. The album is double-sided, to accommodate prints from one end and drawings from the other (stamped PRINTS and DRAWINGS in gold on the spine).

The book block comprises eight gatherings of various coloured papers (ivory, grey, pink, brown, green, buff, blue). Originally each gathering appears to have been made up of three sheets of folio quired with added compensation guards. Some leaves have been cut out and in other instances prints or drawings have been tipped to the compensation guards. The book block has been sewn all along on two parchment tapes and its first and last leaves have been adhered to the case as the pastedown.

Many of the prints in the album have been trimmed. Unless stated as plate sizes, paper sizes are given.

Following its acquisition, the album was foliated continuously from the start of the PRINTS section on fol. 1r to the start of the DESIGNS section on fol.54v. As a result, the folio sequence appears to run in reverse when approached from the start of the DESIGNS section on fol. 54v. The contents of the album have also been individually inventoried, from E.1349:1-2001 to E.1349:94-2001.

In the following list, numbers prefixed by the letters 'F', 'L' and 'B' refer, respectively, to the catalogue numbers in A.J. FINBERG, 'Edward Calvert's Engravings', The Print Collector's Quarterly, 17 [1930], pp.139-53, R. LISTER, Edward Calvert, London [1962] and D. BINDMAN, The Complete Graphic Works of William Blake, London [1978]. Bartsch references are to The Illustrated Bartsch, 1, Netherlandish Artists (ed. L.J. SLATKES), New York [1978].

Descriptive line

Print from the Ionides Album, 'The Gypsy', after David Wilkie, engraved by Henry Meyer, England, 1817

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Evans, Mark, 'Blake, Calvert - and Palmer? The album of Alexander Constantine Ionides', Burlington Magazine, CXLIV, September 2002, pp. 539-54







Production Type

Limited edition


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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