London: Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, 1822. Etching. Image measures 16.5 x 21.5". Sheet measures 18 x 23.5"
This print by William Hogarth represents a myriad of many Hogarthian characters which often straddle the line between humor and tragedy. In this scene, English troops are shown marching northward into Scotland to quell uprisings by the Jacobites, who were loyal supporters of the recently dethroned Stuart monarch James II. Here, despite their dangerous mission, the soldiers have become distracted by the bustling area of Tottenham Court Road. Some are accosted by ballad-sellers while others are forcibly intoxicated, and one pair of soldiers steal kisses and milk from a young vendor. Only a young drummer boy remains in step despite the chaos. Originally an oil-painting in the Foundling Hospital, a philanthropic home for orphaned children which was patronized by Hogarth, this etching was made as a means to raise funds for the hospital. The seemingly odd dedication to the King of Prussia is supposedly due the fact that the print was originally dedicated to George II, who stated his displeasure at the portrayal of his army's campaign. Hogarth responded by dedicating the print instead to Frederick the Great. Originally engraved by Luke Sullivan in 1750, the image was "improved and retouched" by Hogarth in on June 1, 1761. This plate was reissued in an 1822 publication "The Works of William Hogarth" by Baldwin, Cradock and Joy (London) who purchased the original copper-plates in 1818 from the Boydell sale who had in turn bought the plates from Hogarth's widow. This edition is unique because these were the last prints to be made from the original plates and were restored by the royal engraver, James Heath. William Hogarth (1697-1764) is considered by many scholars and print enthusiasts as the grandfather of English graphic satire, but he was also an accomplished oil painter, portraitist, engraver, and draughtsman. Hogarth mastered the art of depicting human nature and all of its hypocrisies in society with graphic satire. The universality of his humor and the all-too-human characters featured in his works make Hogarth's satires remarkable. This print represents the epitome of Hogarth's skills as an artist and as a conscientious observer of humanity.