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A Left Handed Compliment: A newly discovered, early nineteenth-century lithograph by John Lewis Marks

McManus, IC; Snowman, J; (2010) A Left Handed Compliment: A newly discovered, early nineteenth-century lithograph by John Lewis Marks. LATERALITY , 15 (1-2) 270 - 288. 10.1080/13576500903201800.

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Abstract

A newly discovered, early nineteenth-century lithograph by John Lewis Marks (b. ca. 1795-1796, d. ca. 1857-1861), entitled A Left Handed Compliment, is described. In this humorous print a young boy is using his left hand to draw the face of an elderly woman who is his grandmother, and she is shocked at the boy's suggestion that he will, "just see if I can't touch off your old Phizog left handed''. The source of the joke about the left-handed compliment is obscure, but more than likely it is sexual in origin. Glued to the verso of the print are early versions of two prints by Robert Seymour (1798-1836), the illustrator of Dickens' Pickwick Papers, suggesting a possible link between Marks and Seymour. From the hatch patterns on the Seymour engravings, it appears that Seymour may himself have been left-handed and perhaps therefore the butt of the joke. An alternative possibility is that Phizog is a reference to Dickens' later illustrator whose pseudonym was Phiz. It is also just conceivable that the young boy is Marks's own young son, Jacob. The print can be placed in the context of a scatological English vernacular humour that extends from Shakespeare through to Donald McGill and into the present day.

Type: Article
Title: A Left Handed Compliment: A newly discovered, early nineteenth-century lithograph by John Lewis Marks
DOI: 10.1080/13576500903201800
Keywords: John Lewis Marks, Left-handed compliment, Lithograph, PRINT
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/99272
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