Art | The Reconnoisseur

A time capsule of antique prints in London’s Soho

A hidden world of saucy kings’ mistresses and social satire

A time capsule of antique prints in London’s Soho

February 04 2010
Catherine Moye

Ageing parents are never the easiest people to buy gifts for, but this year my siblings and I bought my father a 19th-century print from Andrew Edmunds’ elegant shop on Lexington Street in London’s Soho. The place itself is like a time capsule of Georgian London. It was originally the front room of an 18th-century house and its mantelpiece and panelled walls haven’t changed since then.

The prints themselves are housed in late-18th-century haberdashers’ drawers and a Regency portfolio stand. You’ll find a saucy collection of kings’ mistresses and elegantly attired dandies, together with political and social satires by leading artists such as James Gillray. For art-lovers jaded by the emptier canvas of modern art, Andrew Edmunds’ antique print store is a richly Hogarthian treat.

For £300 we acquired a satirical cartoon of George IV dressed as Henry VIII (almost identical to the one pictured) by the early 19th-century caricaturist George Cruickshank, thereby covering my father’s joint passions for history and politics. It now hangs proudly on his study wall.

Prices from £100.

See also

Prints, Cartoons