Drawing on the Library’s own collections, this exhibition features over 100 hand-coloured, eighteenth-century etchings by the husband and wife team, Mary and Matthew Darly. From the time of their marriage, they worked in tandem designing, engraving and publishing prints using the signature, MD or MDarly.
This printer-publisher team produced well over 500 comic images of Caricatures, Macaronies, and Characters from no. 39 Strand (London) between 1770 and 1780. At the height of their fame, carriages lined the streets so their occupants could titter at the images on display in Darly’s Comic Exhibitions, held every spring from 1773 to 1778.
By the end of the decade, they had become so popular that their publications were available throughout Great Britain and Ireland, Europe and even America. The name Darly became synonymous with the humorous images they produced.