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Print - A sailor sitting for his minature
  • A sailor sitting for his minature
    Woodward, George Moutard
  • Enlarge image

A sailor sitting for his minature

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (printed and published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1817 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Woodward, George Moutard (artist)
    Roberts, P. (etcher)
    Tegg, Thomas, born 1776 - died 1845 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching, coloured by hand

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 69

Woodward was a prolific caricaturist whose forte was social humour. He tended to choose his subjects from the middle and lower classes, and had a particular fondness for featuring sailors. Here we see a sailor having his portrait painted by a miniaturist. Woodward contrasts the effeminate and fashionably dressed artist with the red-faced, brutish sailor. He offers the artist £10 (a representative price for a miniature portrait by a mid-range artist at the time) if he will finish the miniature in 10 mins, but only £5 if he is slower. He mentions his sweetheart - 'Poll' - to whom he will presumably give the portrait as a keepsake to remember him by while he is away. Much of the humour here stems from his puzzlement that there should be enough room for his 'hulk, head and stern' (all naval terms) on 'that there little bit of ivory'.

This caricature was first published in 1807, but was reissued (probably because it was popular and not limited by featuring a topical subject) around 1817.

Physical description

An artist sits at his drawing desk by a window, wearing stockings and a flowered dressing gown. His is painting a miniature portrait of a red faced truculent sailor who sits with arms akimbo on a small stool on the right.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (printed and published)


ca. 1817 (printed and published)


Woodward, George Moutard (artist)
Roberts, P. (etcher)
Tegg, Thomas, born 1776 - died 1845 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Etching, coloured by hand

Marks and inscriptions

Come my Hearty-mind what you are at-make good use of your Eyes-you know the terms on which I set sail-ten golden quids if you come to Anchor in ten minutes. - but a minute beyond time, and you have but five you know.-so heave a head do you hear-and lay in plenty of the true-blue about the jacket.-and Harkee young-one-don't forget the beauty spot on the tar[sic]-board-side of my Cheek-Poll calls it her hearts delight.-well this same painting is a fine knack to be sure-but I am rather puzzled about one thing-If you can get my hulk, head and stern into that there little bit of ivory-d-n me.but I think you would be able to tow a seventy-four through one of the cock boat Arches of London Bridge.
Text above and within the image

A SAILOR sitting for his MINIATURE
Title below the image

Woodward delin.
Printed below the image on the bottom left

Etch'd by Roberts
Printed below the image on the right

Pubd Jan [word or date scratched out] TTegg 111 Cheapside
Printed within the image at the centre


Height: 26 cm trimmed to image, Width: 34 cm trimmed to image

Descriptive line

'A Sailor sitting for his miniature' hand-coloured etching by P. Roberts after G. M. Woodward, ca. 1817

Subjects depicted

Portrait; Sailor; Masculinity; Artist


Portraits; Prints; Caricatures & Cartoons


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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