A FROG HE WOULD  A-WOOING GO

© The Artist

A FROG HE WOULD A-WOOING GO 1989

Paula Rego (1935 – )

Details

Dimension
52 X 38 CM
Media
ETCHING WITH AQUATINT
Accession number
P5783

Summary

The Nursery Rhymesportfolio derived from drawings Paula Rego made for her granddaughter Carmen for her second birthday. She drew those rhymes that Carmen knew, and these drawings, in ink and wash, were much simpler than the prints. The artist worked directly on the plates, and it is a measure of her draughtmanship that few had to be written off. The printing was undertaken by Paul Coldwell, himself an artist, at the Culford Press. He described the experience as a joy ‘because her images are so strongly drawn. At various points in the making of a print she insists on looking at it from a distance. Most artists work with the print under their noses, and only see at the private view that the image is unreadable at anything over six inches.’ The artist had wanted the prints to be strong and direct and wanted them to work, as she said, ‘biff-bang’.

Nursery rhymes are traditional rhymes passed on to children by adults. The first known book of rhymes was published around 1744. Many have sought to find hidden meanings or references to political satire within the verse but most are simply nonsensical rhymes that delight and amuse small children.

A Frog he would a-wooing go,
Heigho! says Rowley,
Whether his mother would let him or no.
(chorus) With a rowley, powley, gammon and spinach,
Heigho! says Anthony Rowley.

 

 

So off he set with his opera hat,
Heigho! says Rowley,
And on the way he met with a Rat.
(chorus)

"Now pray, Mr. Rat, won't you come with me,"
Heigho! says Rowley,
"Kind Mrs. Mousey for to see?".
(chorus)

And when they came to Mousey's hall,
Heigho! says Rowley,
They gave a knock and they gave a call.
(chorus)

"Pray, Mrs. Mouse, are you within?"
Heigho! says Rowley,
"Yes, kind sirs, I'm sitting to spin."
(chorus)

"Pray, Mrs. Mouse, will you give us some beer?"
Heigho! says Rowley,
"For Froggy and I are fond of good cheer."
(chorus)

"Pray, Mr. Frog, will you give us a song?"
Heigho! says Rowley,
"But let it be something that's not very long."
(chorus)

"Indeed, Mrs. Mouse," replied the frog,
Heigho! says Rowley,
"A cold has made me as hoarse as a hog."
(chorus)

"Since you have caught cold, Mr. Frog," Mousey said,
Heigho! says Rowley,
"I'll sing you a song that I have just made."
(chorus)>

But while they were all a merry-making,
Heigho! says Rowley,
A cat and her kittens came tumbling in.
(chorus)

The cat she seized the rat by the crown;
Heigho! says Rowley,
And the kittens pulled the little mouse down.
(chorus)

This put Mr. Frog in a terrible fright,
Heigho! says Rowley,
He put on his hat, and he wished them goodnight.
(chorus)

But as Mr. Frog was crossing the brook,
Heigho! says Rowley,
A lily-white duck came and gobbled him up.
(chorus)

So there was an end of one, two, and three,
Heigho! says Rowley,
The rat, the mouse, and little froggee!
With a rowley, powley, gammon and spinach,
Heigho! says Anthony Rowley.

 

Further reading:
Paula Rego Nursery Rhymes, The South Bank Centre, London 1990
T G Rosenthal, Paula Rego The Complete Graphic Work, Thames & Hudson, London 2003
Iona and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1952