Pickpockets and the Gardens

Georgian engravings of crowds in London's Vauxhall Gardens are a rich source for tracking contemporary anxieties about pickpockets...

This image of the popular Vauxhall singer, Dibdin, entertaining a crowd of Londoners in 1808 makes a feature of the ease with which distracted revellers might be relieved of their purses and watches:

The countryman on the left is losing both at once to two pick pockets:

and this bloke is being robbed by a woman of ill repute and her male associate in military dress. And look... there's even a Georgian amplification device being used behind!

Pleasure gardens: places of promiscuous social mixing - and places in which to be seen, & in which to make an overt show of looking:

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