catch one if you can

Catchpenny prints, like those below were done by anonymous artists of the day and peddled for small change, usually for the tourist trade. As far as the middle of the eighteenth century goes, they reveal much about dress and costume of the day. The eighteenth-century, was, above all, a time of wrenching contrast between rich and poor, starvation, riots, infant mortality, crime; the romanticized charming views of Canaletto and Gainsborough and Zoffany missed many of the amusing and less and less amusing hazards of daily life.

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Leisure was hardly unknown in the mid eighteenth-century, and the working man had ample time to entertain themselves at cock fights,bull and bear baiting, and cricket games. The public hangings at Tyburn and the public floggings in Hyde Park , however, were by far the two most popular entertainments of the age; the place where merchants mixed with apprentices, journeymen, and the Mob…..

—In Europe this racquet sport was known as Jeu de Volant and was popular with the upper classes. The game traveled to the British American colonies with the English settlers.
Published by Aaron Martinet a fashionable couple play badminton with a shuttlecock, watched by a couple and a man drinking at a table. c.1802—Read More:


(see link at end)…A cricketeer ther was, and that a worthy man . . .

In a kind of reverse journey of Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrimage, Jeremy Bentham records the travels of himself and a companion, G. Wilson, from Maresfield to London in December of 1777:

. . . At East Grindstead we took in a Welch Drover: three or four myrmidons of his mounted aloft: his partner (in trade I mean not in bed) escorted us on horseback. At Godstone where we dined (Godstone is 21 miles from Maresfield and 20 from London we received a further reinforcement of a Town-Macaroni, a Country Justice, a Play-house Critic, a Cricketeer, and a Captain in the Blues. The Captain was according to his own account the tallest Man in the tallest Regiment in England, being, as he told us 6 foot 4 inches high. He could not sit upright in the Coach: Wilson was a shrimp to him. The Macaroni display’d a blue and gold enamelled Geneva watch with the picture of a lady on the outside of the case. The Justice smelt a little strongish of Tobacco. This pretious weed we had in all shapes: his Worship smoking (that is to say having smoked) it, the Macaroni snuffing it, and the Welch Drover chewing it. … The Cricketeer had play’d his own two parishes against all Surry for 100 Guineas, and beat all Surry hollow: that same Surry that before now has beat all England. He is preparing with great alacrity to reap another such victory over the same antagonist; and if fortune should second his ambition may come one day to pull Lord Tankerville or even the Duke of Dorset from his throne. . . .

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— Jeremy Bentham to Sarah Wise, Read More:

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