Treasure of the month - March 2007
John Bull and his family at an ice café
John Bull and his family at an ice café: The Occupation of Paris, 1815.
Hand-coloured illustration in:
Gronow, R. H. - The reminiscences and recollections of Captain Gronow, being anecdotes of the camp, court, clubs & society, 1810-1860. Volume 2.
London, J. C. Nimmo, 1892. 2 volumes.
Location: Victorian Collection V940.27 GRO
Rees Howell Gronow (1794-1865) was known for being something of a raconteur who spent his time pursuing the high life - a dandy who gambled and duelled. He had enlisted in the army when young and witnessed the Peninsular War and Battle of Waterloo. These Reminiscences capture the social life and customs of early nineteenth-century Paris both vividly and vivaciously.
John Bull was invented by Dr. Arbuthnot in 1712 as the personification of the Kingdom of Great Britain. The character is often portrayed as a sturdy, down-to-earth conservative and was sometimes shown in contrast to scrawny French revolutionaries or as an adversary of the Bourbon king.
During the late Seventeenth/early Eighteenth Century ice cafés opened across Paris as ice cream enjoyed much popularity. In the late Eighteenth Century, a recipe book for flavoured ices, L'Art de Bien Faire les Glaces d'Office, was published. Ice cream would become even more widely-available in the 1830s when ice-making machines were produced.