|Published||Invented, Painted, & Engrav'd by Wm. Hogarth, & Publish'd June ye. 25 1735, According to Act of Parliament.|
|Dimensions||Image 312 x 385 mm, Plate 355 x 408 mm, Sheet 420 x 565 mm|
Plate 6 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 6: In an attitude of utmost despair and desperation, Tom sinks to the floor, his newly restored wealth already squandered in a squalid gambling den. His wig and hat have fallen to the floor. His fellow gamblers either look on with disinterest, or else are so absorbed in their games that they fail to notice that the building itself is on fire, while the proprietors behind them desperately try to put it out.
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 137 ii/iii, BM Satires 2223
Condition: Light toning to sheet. Vertical creases and toning to edges of sheet where paper has been folded when previously framed, some loss to the lower edge of sheet and short tears to top margin, all not affecting the image or plate. Framed in a 19th century Hogarth frame.