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I’ll Tell You What!
image id: ps_prn_cd27_390

Unknown artist, after Henry Wigstead (d. 1793)
I’ll Tell You What!
Stipple engraving
[London]: Published by E. Jackson, 1790s?
NYPL, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, Print Collection

Elizabeth Inchbald married a fellow-actor, found herself widowed young, and instead of remarrying, prized her independence, which she maintained by scrupulous attention to her reputation. Despite her efforts, Henry Wigstead satirically portrays her living in squalor, with a bottle of gin and the Earl of Rochester’s erotic poetry on the table, writing promotional “puffs” for her own work. Highlighting Inchbald’s unusual solitude, the engraving suggests the discomfort some Britons felt at seeing a woman living without masculine protection. I’ll Tell You What! and Such Things Are are two of Inchbald’s plays.

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