The Sickbed Visitor, 1789

As far as we know, in all his extensive output George Morland produced only thirteen explicitly erotic paintings, which were turned into prints and sold early in his career, probably between 1786 and 1790. These fine, unusually large plates illustrate scenes from John Cleland’s Fanny Hill, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Héloïse and Les Confessions, and Samuel Jackson Pratt’s The Pupil of Pleasure. The mezzotints, radically different from Morland’s elegant portraits of well-behaved young women, may either have been issued separately or in related groups. They were engraved by William Ward (1766–1826) and John Raphael Smith (1752–1812), with whom Morland enjoyed a fruitful print-making partnership and shared a somewhat dissolute life.

At least one set of Morland’s erotic plates was collected around 1790 and put together in a portfolio titled Facetiae (Pleasantries), which was in the collection of the noted erotica collector Gerard Nordmann and sold when that collection was dispersed, by the auctioneers Christies, in 2006.

In addition to the monochrome prints, hand-coloured versions of many of the prints were made to sell at a higher price, and where these are known to exist we have included both versions.

The individual prints shown here are:
     Louisa and the Nosegay Boy (Fanny Hill)
     Fanny Hill and Phoebe (Fanny Hill)
     Harriet Raped in a Country House (Fanny Hill)
     Mrs Brown and the Horse Grenadier (Fanny Hill)
     Harriet and the Barronet (Fanny Hill)
     Lady Bellaston and Tom Jones after the Masquerade (Tom Jones)
     Tom Jones and Molly Seagrim in the Grove (Tom Jones)
     Tom Jones, Molly Seagrim and Square (Tom Jones)
     Tom Jones and Mrs Waters in the Inn at Upton after the Battle (Tom Jones)
     Saint-Preux and Eloisa (La Nouvelle Héloïse)
     Rousseau and Mme Waren (Les Confessions)
     Mrs Homespun and Sedley (The Pupil of Pleasure)
     The Sickbed Visitor (The Pupil of Pleasure)