This paper explores the iconography of two prints owned by Haydn, the traditions to which they belonged and their aesthetic consequences. The prints depict two contrasting audiences, one amused and the other despondent, and feature a range of iconographic references that Haydn would have readily responded to, including such themes as the death of Dido, the world of Tristram Shandy, the madness of Orlando and Don Quixote, the humorous verse of Peter Pindar (one of Haydn’s librettists) and inevitably (in prints of this kind) contemporary English politics. A particular point of interest is a caricature of Edward Topham, an amateur caricaturist and founding editor of the influential newspaper
, featured in one of the prints. In a series of issues in the late 1780s
published a ‘correspondence’ with Haydn himself, which sought to undermine the composer’s suitability for composing with London audiences’ in mind. The print may have helped serve to remind Haydn of this dispute at the time he actually began composing in London and to aid him in keeping such audiences in mind when composing for them.