The Greenwich Pensioner
(caricature) Bears no: 262. This image was printed above the text of Charles Dibdin's song 'The Greenwich Pensioner'. Two Pensioners are seated at a table outside the door or what is by implication an alehouse just to the east of Greenwich Hospital, which appears in the background. One has a right wooden peg-leg and holds a full tankard. The other has a hook instead of a right hand and smokes a clay pipe, with an open twist of tobacco lying on the table. A third Pensioner with a stick approaches on the right under a large tree. All wear Hospital uniform of cocked hat, frock coats and breeches. The man on the left has a striped stocking on his left leg, his seated companion wears looser plain stockings. A woman in a mob cap (the maid or landlady) looks over a fence behind the table between them. The local setting is almost certainly imaginary, but this is also one of the earliest of several similar designs. There is however an earlier edition by Robert Sayer (copy in Spread Eagle Collection), from whom Laurie and Whittle may have taken over the plate; this was published, also over the song, on 22 March 1791. The chequered decoration on the door frame was recognized in the 18th century as a sign of the availability of 'ladies of easy virtue' (i.e a brothel).
Laurie & Whittle
Original size: 300 mm x 265 mm
- Image reference: PY3324
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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