The Ruined Girl, 1786

Cads and handkerchiefs…..

The History of Love



‘Oh! fatal Day when to my Virtues wrong,
I fondly listen’d to his flattering Tongue,
But oh! more fatal Moment when he gain’d,
That vile Consent which all my Glory staind.’

In this print of 1786, a young woman of some fashion appears to have received a letter from her beau, informing her that their dalliance is at an end. Knowing that she has surrendered her virtue to an undeserving suitor, she weeps and leans again the sofa for support. A half-draped portrait hanging on the wall, showing a conversing couple hidden from view, hints at their clandestine affair.



Images © The British Museum

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