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New Acquisitions

A Visit to Court

Isaac Robert Cruikshank. A visit to court, or All the world’s a stage. Print, ca. 1825

Cruikshank’s hand-colored etching, slyly signed “Don Juan,” satirizes actress Harriot Mellon and dancer Maria Mercandotti as they present their married names as “calling cards” to court society. Mellon was the wealthy widow of banker Thomas Coutts (and later married the 9th Duke of St. Albans, shown here carrying her train), while Mercandotti had recently married Edward Ball-Hughes, known as “Golden Ball” for his wealth (hence the golden ball in the dancer’s hand).


Mrs. Coutts proved to be an excellent manager of her late husband’s money, and left his fortune in trust for his youngest granddaughter, Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts. Miss Burdett-Coutts became a great philanthropist and collector; many of her Shakespearean treasures are now at the Folger, including the Daniel copy of the First Folio, the Felton portrait of Shakespeare, and the Garrick Chair, designed by William Hogarth.

  Inside the Collection

William Hogarth. The President's Chair of the Shakespeare Club. Mahogany, ca. 1756

New Acquisitions:
A Treatise of Daunses

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