'The Modern Babylonian Marriage Mart' from Punch's Pocket-Book


This cartoon, from Mr Punch’s Pocket Book of 1876, sardonically sees marriage in the most commercial terms possible: as a high-pressure auction. The title playfully refers to The Babylonian Marriage Market, painted the previous year by Edwin Long (1829–1891) and inspired by a passage in the Histories by Herodotus (c. 484–425 BCE). Mr Punch himself is the auctioneer, with Cupid in front. A mother attends her daughter who is next under the hammer; under the platform are the women lots, those already sold on the left. The attitudes and comments of the characters offer a glimpse into popular speech and sentiments of the time.

Full title:
'The Modern Babylonian Marriage Mart'
1876, London
Periodical / Illustration / Image
© Punch Ltd
Held by
British Library

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