[Lithographed Victorian satire on the Royal Academy.] The Dolefulle Ballade of Arthur Scumble, Now First Imprinted From Ye Originalle M.S. Embellished with Drawynges after Ye Quicke. [Drophead title: 'Arthur Scumble or The yonge Probationere.']

'I S' [The Royal Academy, London, in the nineteenth century]
Publication details: 
London: Ford & West, Imp. 54, Hatton Garden. 1852.
SKU: 20844

6pp., small 4to. Stitched into brown wraps with lithographed title on cover, in pastiche of Gothic design, including monogrammed initials 'IS' in shield, with the letters picked out in red. In fair condition, aged and worn. An extremely scarce item (no copies found on OCLC WorldCat or COPAC), whose text and illustrations cast light on the practices at the Royal Academy in the mid-Victorian period. (Scumble is a glaze painting technique.) The piece is a poem in four-line stanzas, written in Wardour Street English, beginning: 'Now, lyth and listen, Students all | I come before ye here | To tell the Mischance that befell | A yonge Probationere | Merrye it was in Londonne streetes | The daye was faire to see | When sallied forth an Artiste-youth | To the Royal Academie.' The drophead title on the first page has the letters in the name 'Arthur Scumble' also picked out in red. Each page carries a highly-stylised illustration, the last five in text, the first in the margin, and depicting a herald holding a flag on a pole and blowing into a horn. The other five illustrations show: the artist handing in his drawing; drawing a skeleton; drawing his 'Figure after the Antique'; running away with hat and glasses flying; and his body being searched after his suicide by two policemen. Running synopses in margins, the first reading: 'Of a yonge Artiste hight Arthur Scumble & how he takes a Drawynge to ye Academie to obtain entrance therein as a Probationere.' There follow: 'He urgeth on ye Portere ye. necessitie of a speedie Decisionne by ye. Council.', 'He commenceth Worke at ye Academie', 'But lykes it lyttle', 'He fyndeth ye Skeleton tough', 'Commenceth hys Figure after the Antique. The Cause of much swearynge', 'and wyshynge the Curator and Keeper to be in a warmer place than wold be consistent with ease and comforte', 'He groaneth in spirit', 'He completeth hys figure', 'The Council decides on ye Drawynges wyth its usual Judgmente', 'Ye Decisionne of ye Councill is adverse – rejectynge ye Drawynges', 'Ye Rage of Scumble thereat', 'and', 'Astonishmente of ye. Portere', 'In dysorder of mind & Bodye he fleeth from ye Academye', 'He commyteth Suicide', 'Ye. Ende'.