From the Collection: “Raining Cats, Dogs, & Pitchforks”

2006-18

This whimsical print by British caricaturist and illustrator George Cruikshank feels apropos today, since it’s currently raining cats and dogs (and pitchforks) here in Amherst.

This print is aptly titled Very Unpleasant Weather, or the Old Saying Verified “Raining Cats, Dogs, & Pitchforks”!!! The description of this print from 1835 reads as follows: A heavy slanting downpour composed of cats, dogs, and pitchforks descends on a road filled with pedestrians. An old applewoman and a porter with a chest inscribed “Glass keep this side upward” have been thrown to the ground. Pitchforks transfix a kneeling dustman; another pierces the umbrella of a person on which a dog is also seated. A man is pinned to the ground; his wooden leg impales a cat. A barrow-woman shouting “Cats meat, dogs meat!” is beset by dogs and cats. A coach numbered “2072,” with a burlesque coat of arms (a cat and dog for supporters, a cat for a crest) contains two dandies; the roof is covered with animals and pierced by pitchforks. There is a background of houses and landscape; a placard on which a coach and four is depicted is inscribed “Cheap Safe & Expeditious Travelling – Pig & Whistle to the Cow & Snuffers – Winchester Hants.”

image source

 

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