[Moses brought before Pharaoh's Daughter]

Method Copper engraving
Artist after William Hogarth
Published From the Original Painting in the Foundling Hospital, Painted by Willm. Hogarth. [Robert Sayer. London, 1767]
Dimensions Image 240 x 345 mm, Plate 260 x 360 mm, Sheet 282 x 450 mm
Notes A reduced engraving after Luke Sullivan's engraving of Hogarth's painting of Moses brought before Pharaoh's Daughter, from Robert Sayer's Les Satyres de Guillaume Hogarth Oeuvre Moral et Comique. Sayer published Les Satyres under the auspices of Jane Hogarth, who had been granted copyright over her late husband's works by Act of Parliament.

The scene, in the heroic historical style, shows the infant Moses being presented to the daughter of Pharaoh. The original oil-painting was donated to the London Foundling Hospital, established in 1741 by Captain Thomas Coram to educate and maintain orphans and abandoned children. Hogarth himself was a founding Governor of the hospital, and, owing to his own childlessness, fostered a number of the Hospital's wards in his own home. The subject matter of the scene was appropriate for the aims of the new institution. Pharaoh's daughter, seated on an ornate chair and wearing a kindly expression, gestures gently to the young Moses, who clutches at his nursemaid's clothes in fear. The nursemaid, actually his own mother, accepts money from a steward. In the background a Nubian whispers in anxiety to one of the handmaids. The scene is decorated with numerous Egyptianizing motifs, including a smoking incense brazier, a distant skyline of pyramids and other architectural fantasies, and even a small, grimacing crocodile that crawls from under the throne. A quotation (Exodus 2.10) inscribed below the image reads: 'And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaohs daughter, & he became her son. And she called his name Moses.'

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.

Luke Sullivan (1705 - 1771) was a London-based Irish engraver and miniature painter. He was supported in his early career by the Duke of Beaufort, his father having worked for the Duke as a groom. His best known works were completed as an assistant to William Hogarth, though Hogarth was reputed to have had difficulty working with Sullivan, owing to the latter's erratic behaviour and frequent absences. Later in his career he worked on engravings of various British views, including that of Stonehenge for Grose's 'Antiquities of England and Wales,' as well as having some success as a miniaturist with the Society of Artists.

Robert Sayer (1725-1794) was one of the most prolific and successful British publishers, cartographers, and print-sellers of the Georgian era. Following his brother's marriage to the daughter in law of the publisher John Overton, Sayer continued the business, branching out into sea charts, maritime atlases, and general maps. In addition to his cartographic achievements, Sayer was also instrumental in growing the public taste for prints after paintings, particularly those by Johan Zoffany, with whom he developed a lifelong friendship as well as a lucrative business partnership. Following his death, the business was continued by Laurie and Whittle.

Condition: Excellent impression. Minor time toning and surface dirt to edges of sheet, not affecting plate.
Framing unmounted
Price £75.00
Stock ID 50695