A Rake's Progress 'Plate 2' [The Leeve]

Method Copper engraving
Artist William Hogarth
Published Invented, Painted, & Engrav'd by Wm. Hogarth, & Publish'd June ye. 25 1735, According to Act of Parliament.
Dimensions Image 315 x 385 mm, Plate 355 x 405 mm, Sheet 427 x 562 mm
Notes Plate 2 from Hogarth's most famous moral satire, A Rake's Progress, the successor to his highly lauded 'Harlot's Progress'. Aside from its celebrated subject matter, and its crystallisation of the Rake as an iconic stock caricature in English satire, the series also occupies an important part in the history of printmaking in the British Isles, coinciding with the the passing of 'Hogarth's Act.' Publication of the series was delayed by the artist in an attempt to curb the efforts of copyists, though before the passing of the law, a number of pirated editions had already appeared. The original oil paintings of the series are still extant, and are regarded as being amongst the most significant works in Sir John Soane's Museum.

Plate 2: Tom, kitted out in a new suit of clothes, attends his morning levee. He is surrounded by attendants and hangers on, eager to capitalise on his liberality. The group includes a fencing master, who stares out at the viewer, thrusting forward with his epee, as well as a scowling quarterstaff teacher, a dancing master with a tiny violin, a careworn landscape architect, a former captain presenting himself as a bodyguard, a representative of the local Hunt blowing his herald's horn, and a jockey with a silver victory cup. To the left of the scene, a composer at a harpsichord, usually identified as Handel, practices a new opera on the 'Rape of the Sabines.' A discarded poem behind his chair is authored by Tom himself. The room itself is elegant, with high Georgian windows and arches, the walls decorated with rococo frames featuring a depiction of Venus and Mars, as well as a pair of fighting cocks. In the adjoining parlour, another group of attendants, including a tailor, a hatter, and a poet, awaits Tom's attention.

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764) was born in London, the son of an unsuccessful schoolmaster and writer from Westmoreland. After apprenticeship to a goldsmith, he began to produce his own engraved designs in about 1710. He later took up oil painting, starting with small portrait groups called conversation pieces. He went on to create a series of paintings satirising contemporary customs, but based on earlier Italian prints, of which the first was The Harlot's Progress (1731), and perhaps the most famous The Rake's Progress. His engravings were so plagiarised that he lobbied for the Copyright Act of 1735, commonly referred to as 'Hogarth's Act,' as a protection for writers and artists. During the 1730s Hogarth also developed into an original painter of life-sized portraits, and created the first of several history paintings in the grand manner.

Paulson Paulson 133 v/v, BM Satires 2173

Condition: Light toning to sheet. Vertical creases and toning to edges of sheet where paper has been folded when previously framed, not affecting the image or plate. Unidentified watermark of a crowned two headed eagle.
Framing unmounted
Price £300.00
Stock ID 49522

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