Questionable courtezans...
By HOLLAR, Wenceslaus [but ?BICKHAM, George jnr]. , 1825

Portraits of Celebrated Courtezans from the Original Copper Plates..., in the Reign of Charles the Second.

Social & Political
  • Author: HOLLAR, Wenceslaus [but ?BICKHAM, George jnr].
  • Publication place: [London
  • Publication date: c1825]
  • Physical description: 8vo (248 by 160mm). Letterpress title, 10 etched plates (each approximately 103 by 65mm), printed onto much larger sheets, no titles, but lettered within the plate giving the name of the woman and her rates, contemporary quarter blue morocco, cloth boards, spine lettered in gilt, rubbed with upper joint repaired.
  • Dimensions: 259 by 166mm. (10.25 by 6.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 18267


Pennington casts aspersions on the Hollar attribution: “The print dealers catalogues from H[ollar]’s time to 1825 do not mention them; and if they are from Hollar’s plates, which is unlikely, these have been so heavily reworked as to have lost their Hollar quality. Some seem to be copies of the Theatrum mulierum figures.”

A more likely attribution is to George Bickham jnr., who advertised “10 Ladies of Pleasure, or the Shades of Concubine Row”, as no. 110 in his catalogue of c1740.

Lettered within the plate of each courtezan is an abbreviated note of her name and the amount charged for services rendered, thus: “Flo.a A-w, a gui[nea] a time or “Elia F-k 10 Gns a time”!


  1. NHG Hollar R148-157
  2. Pennington 1944A.