A Peep at Christie’s; -or- Tally – ho, & his Nimeney–pimmeney taking the Morning Lounge
37.7 cm x 28 cm (14 13/16 in. x 11 in.)
(London, 1757 - 1815, London)
Medium and Support:
Etching and aquatint with hand coloring
The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Lord Derby, a great hunter and horseman, is known more for his involvement in organizing horse races than his political career. He is pictured here with actress Elizabeth Farren. Famous for her role as Nimeney-pimmeney in John Burgoyne’s Heiress, she frequented Queen Charlotte’s drawing-room and was celebrated for her good conduct and appealing disposition. Gillray seems to be alone in his distaste for Farren. He portrays her as a fortune seeker browsing artwork with equally haughty company. Her focus falls on a painting of Xenocrates and Phryne. According to the ancient Greek biographer, Diogenes Laërtius, the courtesan Phryne attempted to seduce Xenocrates, a Greek philosopher and mathematician. The print is a stab at the questionable morals of Farren, who married Lord Derby eight months after its publication.