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Monochrime aquatint, 'The barberous murder of Mr Weare' London, published by J McGowan 1824.

This incident is known as one of Hertfordshire's most famous murders. On 24th October 1823 a London solicitor and card-sharp, William Weare, was driven to a cottage near Elstree by a fellow gambler, John Thurtell, for 'a few days' shooting', but his holiday proved much shorter. That evening, two men were seen driving very fast in a gig, with their horse out of breath: the equivalent of a sports car and squealing tyres today. A farmer at Aldenham heard a shot and a 'great groan', Weare's reward for having cheated Thurtell and two friends of £300 at cards. The 'friends' turned King's Evidence, Weare was found at the bottom of a local pond, and Thurtell was tried and executed at Hertford

The case, though sordid, excited enormous interest, and much sympathy for Thurtell, who made a fine speech in his own defence, and died nobly. The broadsheet engravings have been done with an eye to speed rather than quality, to catch the popular market. The gallows scene, though, is from the publisher's stock - the broadsheet will have been ready in good time for Thurtell's execution on 9 January 1824.
Accession No
2000.5088

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