J. R. Smith [&] William Ward after the Rev. Peters
The Fortune Teller
25.5 x 23
A pair of hand coloured mezzotint engravers by Smith and Ward after the paintings of the Rev. Peters RA
Most unusually for genre studies such as these we have a named character as one of the subjects. In The Gamesters the man seen playing (and cheating!) at cards is Thomas Rowlandson, the famous caricaturist. In 1789, upon the death of his aunt, Rowlandson inherited a sizeable fortune but over the next few years he became an increasingly obsessive gambler. By 1793 he had squandered the entire inheritance and found himself in a state of penury. As a result, the Rev. Peters produced this image as a warning to would-be gamblers to repent before the habit took hold. There is an equally mischievous air to the companion print. In The Fortune Teller a young girl is having her palm read by, one presumes, a close friend. An impish youth leers over the girl's shoulder, smirking and giving clues to his accomplice.