O' The Roast Beef of Old England &c.

Method Copper engraving
Artist after William Hogarth
Published Invented by Wm. Hogarth. J. June Sculpt. [Robert Sayer. London, 1767]
Dimensions Image 230 x 340 mm, Plate 250 x 355 mm, Sheet 282 x 450 mm.
Notes A reduced engraving by John June after Hogarth's O The Roast Beef of Old England &c., 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.

A satirical view of the English Gate at Calais, lampooning the French for their devotion to fashion and the Roman Catholic Faith. Hogarth had visited Calais in 1748, and explained that whilst there observing the locals and sketching a number of caricatures, he was arrested by the local garrison and questioned as a spy. In order to prove his innocence, and his profession, he was made to sketch a number of the soldiers, before being sent on his way. The scene draws attention to the 'fussy' nature of French cuisine, which Hogarth, like many visiting Englishmen, found to be most ironic at a time when shortages of food, and particularly meat, were common for the majority of the French populace. A cook is carrying a comically large side of beef, its wrappings showing it to be destined for the kitchens of Madm. Grandsire, the hotelier who accommodated most of the English visitors to Calais. The cook passes a street full of dejected and half starved characters, including a French soldier who spills his watery soup in longing for the beef, and a melancholic Scotsman, likely a Jacobite mercenary, who sits against the stone wall of an arcade. The cook is stopped in his passage by a fat friar, who, in 'blessing' the joint, runs his fingers greedily across the fat. In the bottom left corner three market women, two carrying baskets of beets and carrots, laugh at the resemblance of a ray-fish's gaping mouth to the face of the fat friar. Near the guardpost of the gate, Hogarth has inserted himself, joyfully sketching the scene as a guard's hand descends on his shoulder, a halberd hanging menacingly above his head. In the inscription space below, the title of the work is given: 'O the Roast Beef of Old England, &c.'

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.

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.

John June (c.1722-1775) was a British engraver, particularly of satires but also views, portraits, and decorative engravings. He produced plates for many publishers, but especially Robert Sayer and Thomas and Carington Bowles.

Condition: Excellent impression. Minor time toning and surface dirt to edges of sheet, not affecting plate.
Framing unmounted
Price £200.00
Stock ID 50689