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Bartholomew's Fair took place at Smithfield from middle ages. In 1721 it was particularly noted for its dramatic performances and the dignitaries who attended; Sir Robert Walpole is supposed to be well dressed figure on the right of this scene. An etching with aquatint after a fan design from the early part of the C18th. It is a finely coloured example of this nostalgic and somewhat primitive semicircular design produced for an antiquarian audience who were interested in the history of the manners and customs of London. The range of amuseuments, people and foodstuffs shown on offer at the Fair is varied; they include wine, punch, suckling pig, oysters. People are shown engaged in drinking, courting, crying their wares, acting and watching the plays which are advertised by large pictorial hoardings. There is even an early Ferris wheel.
© Museum of London