Broadside ballad entitled 'The Heaving of the Lead' with three verses printed at the top & bottom of the sheet. In the centre is printed a shield shaped engraving of three sailors aboard ship, the centre of whom is heaving a lead line to measure the depth of the water.(Though the artist had clearly never seen a leadline himself, and has drawn it incorrectly from a description). The ballad celebrates the efforts of seamen. Printed on January 14th 1796 this was one in a series of ballads published by John Marshall in the 1790s.
Ballads were particularly popular with Londoners. As Britain's navy and merchant fleets became more influential subjects such as the navy and sailors featured more regularly on such popular broadsides. Printed by small back street printers primarily based in the Seven Dials area of London the ballads were sold by ballad hawkers trading on London's streets. The ballad writers would receive little reward from the printers for their efforts, reportedly sometimes only a few pints of ale.