Signature of "The Blind Beak of Bow Street" Fielding, Sir John [1721-1780]. [Autograph Signature, London, October 2, 1760]. 3" x 6-1/2" sheet cut from a printed certificate of fitness for service. Light toning, light soiling and adhesive residue from mounting to verso, additional signature of "G. Martell" ("Marten?") and notes identifying Fielding to recto. $450. * Fielding, a London magistrate and reformer, is most notable for his extensive career as the head of the Bow Street Runners, the city's first professional police force. He was blinded in an accident at the age of 19, which contributed to his notoriety; he could, by some accounts, recognize thousands of criminals by the sound of their voice alone, giving him the nickname "The Blind Beak of Bow Street." He was also interested in social reform and helped found the Asylum for Orphan Girls in Lambeth in 1758. Likely because of his blindness, Fielding's signature is rarely found or identified.
Book number 72753