Barbers were popular subjects for social caricature prints in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Shaver and the Shavee is based on a popular print by H. W. Bunbury published in 1772. There appears to be no moral or political message in the picture, apart from the boring and repetitive nature of the daily shave.
This theme was emphasised when Rowlandson reworked Bunbury's print and published his own version in 1807-1808 to accompany a series of prints he released under the title 'Miseries of Human Life'.
This copy in oils by some unknown hand captures the sense of deja vu as a bored barber indifferently prepares his razor for yet another shave in his down-at-heel establishment.
A theatre poster for a long-gone play is peeling off the wall, the candles have gone out, the customer's shaving soap is getting cold and hard. So what; he'll be here again tomorrow.