The British caricaturist William Heath (1795-1840) liked to sign his prints with the tiny figure of the actor John Liston (ca. 1776-1846) in role of Paul Pry from the 1825 farce of the same name. So popular were Heath’s prints that pirated copies flooded the market, reproducing both the central image and the Paul Pry monogram (For the original image of Liston as Pry, see: http://images.library.yale.edu/walpoleweb/oneitem.asp?imageId=lwlpr12679).
Dorothy George writes, “[Heath’s] prints were copied, his manner imitated, his signature forged and plagiarized. …After protests at ‘some scurvy rogue … robbing us of our Ideas & Just profit …’ Heath announced on 6 July 1829 that henceforth his prints would be signed with his full name … The false Paul Pry continues for a few months, then the signature ceases, but imitations go on.”
While many prints contain the simple figure with an umbrella shown above, there are also variations. Can you tell the real William Heath from the copyist?
[Paul Pry Says: “from a Hint of W-R-V-s-, Esqer. Del.”], no date (1825?).
Sent To Coventry !!!, no date (ca. 1829).
August 1, 1831.
All prints from the Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University.