Pisces, One of the Signs in the Zodiac

Method Woodcut
Artist William Hogarth
Published William Hogarth Sculpt. circa annum 1730. Printed for John & Josiah Boydell. [c.1790]
Dimensions Plate 170 x 232 mm, Sheet 195 x 475 mm
Notes A very unusual plate collated by the Boydell's for their 1790 folio of Hogarth's works, featuring nine illustrations of fish printed from woodcut tokens reputed to have been carved by Hogarth around 1730. The plate, acting as an advertisement for the Boydells' Hogarth Analyzed in octavo, also features a Latin inscription from Book 2 of Manilius' Astronomica describing the position and situation of the zodiacal sign Pisces. The fish themselves were purportedly carved from the gaming tokens used by Jane Hogarth and her friends when playing hands of the card game Quadrille, which featured a 'pool' of 'fish' placed before the winner.

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 265

Condition: Strong clean impression. Small ink stain to left margin, not affecting plate.
Price £125.00
Stock ID 50686