Thou Shalt Steal [Swift, Richard (fl.1765)]. Dick Swift Thieftaker of the City of London. Teaching His Son the Commandments. [London], 1765. 15-1/2" x 10" (image size 12-1/2" x 9") etching. Toning, light foxing and soiling, light edgewear and chipping not affecting image, small faint dampstain to lower right corner of caption. $1,850. * "Swift is sitting at a table teaching his young son the Ten Commandments from a damaged volume in which the word 'not' has been torn from the page so that Commandment VIII reads "Thou shalt steal". A print of Beardmore teaching his son [Magna Carta] is pinned to the wall behind Swift; a burglar's mask and pair of pistols protrude from his coat on the back of his chair; a key and pick-locks and an execution broadside hang from the drawer of his table. The boy holds a horn book, from his pocket protrudes a paper reading, "Get you gone / raw Head & /Bloody Bones / Here is a Child / dont fear you"; he picks a robe from his father's pocket and a hangman's noose is suspended above his head" (BM Satires). The composition and caption parody Robert Edgar Pine's Arthur Beardmore, Common-Council Man of the City of London, Teaching his Son Magna Carta (1765). Beardmore, who had been arrested for seditious libel in 1762, sued the government for unlawful arrest and won his case in 1765. Pine's engraving of Beardmore with his son at the moment of his arrest was released to commemorate the ruling. BM Satires 4120.
Book number 75089