This delightful complete set of four hand colored nursery prints dates to the early 19th century circa 1832. The four, all ORIGINAL engravings tell the romantic and perilous story of the female seafarer heroine Anne Jane Thornton (b 1817 – d 1877). Anne Jane Thornton was an Anglo Irish lady who in 1832 posed as a cabin boy in order to go to sea in pursuit of her lost lover Captain Alexander Burke. An inspirational story of longing, great hardship, surviving at sea in an ALL male environment aboard ship and ultimately........ great loss.
It is extremely rare to find a complete set of nursery prints let alone of this rare, subject. To have a set of four housed behind their original glass in their original stained soft wood frames is very desirable. See an engraving of Anne J Thornton held by The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The prints were published by John Fairburn (fl. 1789-1840) who was a Regency era printer and publisher of popular prints. He also retailed and printed maps, charts and books for the general public. On one of the prints we find his address listed as 44 Barbican and no ??? Minories, London, we have also not found another example with both of these addresses listed.
Each of the prints is titled at the bottom of each scene. The first scene is titled ‘Going to America in Search of her Lover’ and features Anne posing as male sailor in order to be allowed aboard the ship. The next scene is titled ‘Discovered to be a Female’ and features Anne’s cover being blown. The next scene is titled ‘Journeying 70 Miles through Woods’ and features the young lady making her way through the undergrowth. The final scene which ends the story is titled ‘Finds her Lover is Dead’ and features Anne stood over her lovers gravestone. The grave stone reads ‘Sacred To The Memory of Alex Burke.’ At the top of the print is the title of the series which reads ‘The Life of Anne Jane Thornton.’
After the discovery of her lover's death, due to impoverished circumstances Anne had to continue posing as a male and she continued to serve aboard ships in differing male roles for many years afterwards!!She was eventually discovered to be a female whilst serving on board The Sarah in 1835. There is plenty more to hear of the life of this brave lady, we do not wish to spoil the ending and so shall leave the rest for you to discover......
Measuring: Frame approximately width 3 7/8 inch (10 cm) by height 4.75 inch (12 cm). Aperture width 2 5/8 inch (6.5 cm) by height 3.75 inch (9.5 cm).
Condition: Some minor surface wear to the frames. Three of the prints have been trimmed at the bottom to fit the frame. ‘Finds her Lover is Dead’ is in poor, discolored condition with some old restored tear sections to the top of the print.
A rare opportunity to own a splendid set of engravings that are full of fascinating British social and maritime history....THE perfect conversation piece.
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