Enthusiasm Delineated

Method Copper engraving and etching
Artist Isaac Mills after William Hogarth
Published [Published Novr. 12th. 1795 by John Ireland (Author of Hogarth Illustrated) No. 3 Poets Corner, Palace Yard, & for Messrs Boydell, Cheapside, & Shakespeare Gallery Pallmall]
Dimensions Image 356 x 320 mm, Sheet 398 x 342 mm
Notes As part of the 1795 Boydell edition of Hogarth's works, Isaac Mills was commissioned by John Ireland to engrave a copy of Hogarth's original Enthusiasm Delineated. The work, a satire on the emphatic and emotionally-charged nature of Methodist preaching, was also intended to address recent discussion of the subject of 'enthusiasm' in art after a publication by Reynolds. Hogarth's plate was never published, perhaps owing to concerns amongst his friends in the clergy that the print might be seen by many as an attack on religion more generally. As a result, Hogarth dramatically reworked the plate and issued it instead as 'Credulity, Superstition, & Fanaticism: A Medley.' In this recreation of the original, Mills depicts a scene in a Methodist chapel. The bombastic preacher holds aloft a pair of puppets, one a representation of the Trinity, the other a winged devil holding a griddle-iron. Sets of other puppets hang suspended from the pulpit, including Adam & Eve, St Peter & St Paul, Moses with the Ten Commandments, and Aaron. The congregation, gripped by ecstatic revelations, weep openly, grasping, kissing, and fodling their religious icons. A howling dog before the lectern is given a collar that reads 'Whitfield,' a reference to the Methodist preacher George Whitefield, who was notorious for his enthusiastic and emotionally charged sermons. In the foreground, a woman has fainted in her fervour and is being brought round with smelling salts. To the right of the scene are two meters, intended to measure the religious enthusiasm of the congregation. At the bottom of one of these meters is a faux-medical drawing of 'A Methodist's Brain,' demonstrating the influence of the Holy Spirit in the form of a black dove. While intended as an overtly negative comparison of Methodism to the Anglican Faith, the view presents many symbols of Popery, perhaps alluding to the common belief of the time that Methodists were actually a secret sect of Roman Catholicism. Above the image, an explanatory paragraph reads: After taking the above Impressions Hogarth chnaged the point of his satire from the superstitious absurdities of popery, and ridiculous personification delineated by ancient Painters, to the popular credulities of his own day, erased or essentially altered every Figure except two, and on the same piece of copper, engraved the plate now in the possession of Mess.rs Boydell, entitled Credulity, Superstition & fanatacism. a Medley. Hogarth's original dedicatory text and advertisement were recreated by Mills for his version, though in this example they have been trimmed off and replaced with a simple inscription above the title, which reads: W: Hogarth. Inv. I. Mills. Sculpt. Copied from Hogarth's hand-writing beneath the Original Print.

Isaac Mills (fl. 1795) was a London-based engraver, known for a reproduction of Hogarth's Enthusiasm Delineated, as well as a portrait of the author and Hogarth-admirer, John Ireland.

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 210, BM Satires 2426 iii

Condition: Excellent impression, trimmed within the plate just below title with dedication and advertisement text trimmed off.
Framing unmounted
Price £200.00
Stock ID 38150