Gaming. William Castler.


Castle, William (illus.)

1785. Handwritten and hand-illustrated broadside. This broadside, adorned with flourishes in brown ink and a center illustration in full color, presents Castle's scornful opinion of gambling. It begins with a short definition of gaming—"The Diversion of Cards and Dice"—followed by the warning that it is an activity leading to "Avarice" and "Loss of Temper." The bottom third of the sheet is occupied by a four-line poem, which promotes the same scathing take on gaming as a pastime. The middle third of the sheet contains an illustration of a gaming-initiated argument between Scaramouche and Harlequin, with a five of clubs occupying the central space. Scaramouche and Harlequin are stock comedic characters originally from Renaissance Italy. Scaramouche's conceit and cowardice is often met by Harlequin's wit, acrobatics, and, as depicted here, beatings. Castle is not a known figure, but his choice to mingle a serious moralizing tone with highly satirical and theatrical imagery perhaps suggests a deeper commentary on the tension between stated morality and the reality of everyday activities. Gilt frame shows significant rubbing, but sheet only bears a few smudges. Near fine. (Frame measures 17 1/2 by 12 1/4 in.; 445x311mm). Item #27686

Price: $1,500.00

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