The Old Print Shop

The Dead Beat.

  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published in Harper's Weekly, New York. December 23, 1871.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving,

    DATE: 1871.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 13 x 9 1/8" (33.1 x 23.1 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: "The Ghost of Dick Turpin to Jack Sheppard. 'There's no use talking. To them belong the Palm. They have completely outdone us.'" <br><br> This political cartoon depicts Boss Tweed enjoying a lavish meal with his cronies while arrest warrants lay forgotten in the trash. Tweed's wealth, power and influence were working in his favor, despite having been recently caught in an extensive embezzlement scheme that had robbed New York City tax payers of millions. Above him are the ghosts of Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard, two notorious and heavily romanticized criminals in English history. Turpin and his black mare, Black Bess, made history with a life as a highwayman, murderer and horse-thief until his ultimate execution. Sheppard was thief and rogue who escaped many a prison, the latter of which made him popular with poor. He too was ultimately executed for his crimes. By depicting the scene as he did, the artist, Thomas Nast, is reminding the viewer that the common man is quickly punished for their crimes, but here politicians are being set free for the same misdoings.


  • CONDITION: Good condition, save for minor foxing in the margins.