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Isaac Bickerstaff Esqr. Author of the Tatlers & Spectator

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    after 1734 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sturt, John, born 1638 - died 1730 (engraver)
    Bowles, John, born 1701 - died 1779 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Edgar Seligman

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case PS, shelf 43

Physical description

Print, whole-length portrait of a man, facing half right, and seated at a bureau. The sitter is holding a pen in his right hand, his left placed to his head. Behind him is a bookshelf with an armillary sphere, a cannon and other instruments. On the left is a boy on a cloud who hands the sitter a sealed letter. In the foreground are a cat and dog playing among dice, a pack of cards and broken swords.

Place of Origin

London (published)


after 1734 (published)


Sturt, John, born 1638 - died 1730 (engraver)
Bowles, John, born 1701 - died 1779 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'Isaac Bickerstaff Esqr. Author of the Tatler & Spectator B. Lens senr delineavit / Engraven and sold by John Sturt in Golden Lion Court in Aldersgate Street Price SIX Pence. MDCCX. Printed for I. Bowles at the Black Horse in Cornhill.'


Height: 33.3 cm, Width: 20.3 cm

Descriptive line

Print, whole-length portrait of a man, previously thought to be Sir Richard Steele, engraving, probably by John Sturt, reissued after 1734.

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

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1960: Volume 2, Edgar Seligman Gift. London: HMSO, 1966.
O'Donoghue, Freeman. British Museum: Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits. London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1908-25.

Production Note

The engraving was probably made by John Sturt, and although dated 1710 it was reissued by John Bowles after 1734 when he was based at the Black Horse in Cornhill.



Subjects depicted

Dice; Playing cards; Swords; Man; Cannon; Books; Boy; Dog; Cat


Prints; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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