c 1818 English Caricature - The Gay Lothario


A whimsical and highly detailed etching with original hand-coloring. This satire is titled “The GAY LOTHARIO. The Great and Celebrated Amateur of Fashion”. A satire on the actor Robert Coates: In December 1811 'The worst ever actor', Robert 'Romeo" Coates (1772-1842) delivers a speech as the dying Gay Lothario in 'The Fair Penitent' at the Haymarket Theatre, London, to the applause of the audience who as amused by his appalling acting. Coates took longer to die in this role than any other actor before or since. (Ref - GettyImages)

Artist: William Elmes. Published in London by Thomas Tegg, c. 1818.

British Museum description:  Coates in a pose suggesting Harlequin in a fencing-match (and like that of the clown in No. 9003), sits on the stage, his trunk almost at right angles to his legs which slant stiffly towards the stage-box (left). He grins at the occupants, pointing his sword towards them and raising his left arm. He wears his jewelled hat with the enormous feathers, cloak, tunic, and sash, as in No. 11769. He declaims Lothario's speech when he falls dying, after the duel with Altamont, beginning: "Oh Altamont! thy genius is the stronger, thou hast prevail'd . . ." [Rowe, 'Fair Penitent', iv. 1]. He lies on bright green ground, a garden scene with trees and skaters forming a background. Four persons in the box, much burlesqued, applaud, grinning broadly: "Encore—Encore"; "Bravo—bravo—Encore"; "Bravo—Encore."

Image Size: 9 1/4 x 13 inches, Paper Size: 11 1/2 x 16 3/4 inches

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  • Inventory# MA-635