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Please Remember the Grotto: P.14899-R

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Please Remember the Grotto
Oval No. 50


Printmaker: Le Blond, Abraham
Publisher: Le Blond & Co




A street scene which references the tradition of 'Oyster-Day' at the beginning of August, which marked the arrival of fresh oysters into Billingsgate market in London, and the custom among poor children to make money from building oyster-shell grottoes, as can be seen in the left foreground. Some customers can be seen buying oysters at the costermonger's stall on the other side of the street. Written in pencil on the verso: '12/6'. The colours are faded.


History note: Given by G.H.W. Rylands

Legal notes

Given by G.H.W. Rylands

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given by Rylands, G.H.W.


19th Century
Production date: circa AD 1853


The remains of the Le Blond & Co stamp can be seen at lower right, where an attempt has been made to remove it. From a set of 32 Baxter-process prints by George Baxter licensee, Abraham Le Blond known as 'The Ovals'. In a departure from Baxter, who stuck his prints onto embossed or printed mounts, Le Blond printed this set, probably with a view to economy, directly onto mounts after which an embossed border, title and number were then added. The erasure of Le Blond's name is thought to date from a fall in favour of The Ovals around 1900 when attempts were made to pass off his work as by George Baxter. (Lycett and Martin, 1994, p.18). Heavy outlines would seem to indicate that some strengthening of the key plate has taken place, although this effect is less evident in unfaded examples (see reproduction in Lycett and Martin, p.38) and the wide outlines would seem to be consistent with the original plate. Lycett and Martin, following Courtney Lewis, have suggested that Please Remember the Grotto, along with The Image Boy, were the first two of The Ovals to be produced and that they can be dated to 1853. The Le Blond Ovals, almost certainly in all 32 cases, are reproductions after a series of small oval oil paintings on board by the artist, John Anthony Puller (1799-1886). Puller exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition between 1821 and 1862 and at the British Institution between 1825 and 1867. Many of his painted ovals, which compare exactly with the compositions of the Le Blond Ovals, have appeared at auction quite regularly during the last 20 years and it has been possible to trace 22 of Puller's compositions to the Le Blond Ovals. It is thought that Puller was probably contracted to produce the small oval paintings for Le Blond, although no evidence of this arrangement has come to light. (See New Baxter Society) Moreover, the fact that a number of small ovals on board by Puller of scenes which are not included in the Le Blond Ovals (such as 'A Travelling Pedlar' and 'A Picnic'), may indicate that a series of small oval compositions for the popular market originated with Puller and that it was Le Blond who struck a deal with Puller for the right to reproduce a selected number for his Baxter process series. For the transfer from painting to print, Le Blond employed the artists George Stone, his eldest son, Francis Le Blond and later his youngest son, Bernard Maynard Le Blond. (Lycett and Martin, 1994, p.19). Please Remember the Grotto has been identified as a reproduction after or as derived from Thomas Webster's 1846 painting, Please Remember the Grotto - Only Once a Year. However, there is almost certainly a Puller painting which corresponds exactly with the composition of Le Blond's Oval. Webster was also, like William Collins, a contemporary of Puller and all three artists were producing genre scenes on a similar range of popular subjects.

School or Style


Techniques used in production

Baxter-process print

Identification numbers

Accession number: P.14899-R
Primary reference Number: 239728
Courtney Lewis: 87
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Thursday 9 January 2020 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Please Remember the Grotto" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-15 11:56:24

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{{cite web|url= |title=Please Remember the Grotto |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-15 11:56:24|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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