The royal pastime of Cupid: three early printed board games in the Bodleian Library's John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera

Duggan, Eddie (2018) The royal pastime of Cupid: three early printed board games in the Bodleian Library's John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. Bodleian Library Record. ISSN 0067-9488 (In Press)

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Abstract

The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera contains three examples of the early printed board game The Royal Pastime of Cupid, Or Entertaining Game of the Snake. While this paper will discuss all three examples, which are dated to either the late eighteenth or the early nineteenth century, one of its main concerns will be to present evidence to provide a publication date for one particular example, the print published by William Dicey, which currently lacks a firm publication date in the John Johnson catalogue. The Bodleian's bibliographic record attributes a broad publication date of 1700–1750, although the Dicey imprint variant used makes it possible to establish a more precise publication date, c. 1736–1740.

The article also identifies the three "types" of iconography used in the final square of Cupid games published in Britain. These are: Cupid honing his arrow in a formal garden; Cupid alone with his bow; and a peasant couple dancing in a hortus conclusus apparently serenaded by Cupid playing on a fiddle, but who is, in fact, making 'rough music'.

The first type can be seen in print published by Laurie & Whittle in 1794 and re-issued R. H. Laurie c. 1850, as well as in a print published in Glasgow by James Lumsden & Son, c. 1810–1830. The second type can be seen in prints issued by the Bowles family, viz. a Carington Bowles edition of c. 1756 and a Bowles & Carver print of c. 1763–1780. The third type, used by Dicey c. 1736–1740, also occurs in an earlier edition published by John Garrett, c. 1690–1700.

The article concludes with the observation that the earliest type, the peasant dance motif, appears to be derived from a print published in Amsterdam by Claes Jansz. Visscher, c. 1625.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TS Manufactures
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z719 Libraries (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Science & Technology
Depositing User: Eddie Duggan
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2019 15:37
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 15:37
URI: http://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/813

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