|Method||Copper engraving and etching|
|Published||Publish'd according to Act of Parliament May ye 16.1763. [J & J Boydell c.1802]|
|Dimensions||Image 315 x 220 mm, Plate 360 x 235 mm, Sheet 645 x 475 mm|
A portrait of John Wilkes (17th October 1725 - 26th December 1797), the English radical, politician, and libertine. Despite being a friend of Hogarth's, the two were frequently in disagreement. In this portrait, he is depicted full length, sitting on a high-backed chair. He rests the Staff of Maintenance, topped with a freedman's cap emblazoned with the word 'Liberty,' on his right shoulder. His face is set in a sinister leer, and his periwig has been positioned deliberately to suggest satanic horns. At the time this print was taken, Wilkes had recently been committed to the Tower for the publication of an attack on the King's Speech of 19th April 1763. Wilkes was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of the notorious Hellfire Club, allegedly contributing to its dissolution after he released a live baboon into the Club's meeting rooms. He was also the author of a pornographic parody of Pope's 'An Essay on Man.' During the American War of Independence, he was a prominent supporter of the American Rebels. The Inscription below image reads: Drawn from the Life and Etch'd in Aquafortis by Will.m Hogarth. and Price 1 Shilling.
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 214 i/ii, BM Satires 4050
Condition: Water stain to bottom of sheet, not affecting image or plate, some toning. paper watermarked 'S.Lay 1802'.