No. 11, June/July 2007

The Winchester Wedding

  Click the image to enlarge it This image is by Robert Robinson (fl. 1674-1706), an engraver of mezzotint prints who specialised in genre subjects, including architectural caprices, still lifes, and landscapes. The Winchester Wedding is based on a popular ballad by Tom D’Urfey (1653-1723) which features Ralph of Reading, and Black Bess of the Green, who ‘Did together resort, and caused such sport, as before scarce ever was seen’. 1 It has been suggested that the ballad was composed by D’Urfey in 1682 on the occasion of Charles II’s visit to Winchester; it was first published in 1682 or 1683. It shows an interior with rustics dancing and carousing, while two fiddlers play seated on giant barrels. Certain of the motifs derive from Johannes Visscher’s etching and engraving The Country Dance after the popular Dutch artist Nicholas Berchem. 2

British Museum 1850,1109.75. Dimensions of original: 213 mm x 168 mm


J. Woodfall Ebsworth (ed.), The Roxburghe Ballads, Illustrating the Last Years of the Stuarts, vol. 7, part 1 (Hertford, 1890), pp. 207-9. Back to context...
Hollstein’s Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, 1450-1700, vol. XLI, Johannes [De] Visscher to Robert Van Voerst, compiled by Christiaan Schuckman, ed. by D. De Hoop Scheffer (Rosendaal, 1992), p. 25 (i.e. Hollstein 23). This and other information has been derived from unpublished research by James A. Ganz. Back to context...