London: G. C. & J. Robinson, 1798.
Engraving, and etching. Image measures 13 3/8 x 15 7/8". Sheet measures 16 1/4 x 21".
Often referred to as the French and Indian War (1756-1763), the otherwise known Seven Years War reignited British concerns of a French invasion, as well as a culturally-ingrained anti-French feeling among the populace. With his usual skill for satirical detail, Hogarth allows us to gain the British perspective of a war so often only considered an American conflict. This print and its companion piece "England" illustrate the stark contrasts between the French and their significantly better-off adversaries, the English. For example, one of the most prominent threats that France represented was religious, as well as political, in the form of Catholicism and its implications of superstition, inquisition, and tyranny. Therefore, Hogarth portrays a monk as a leader of the invasion, preparing a boat filled with various torture devices. Hogarth also plays upon the perceived physical differences between France and Britain. In France, most of the inhabitants are emaciated and forced to roast frogs for food while in Britain, the people are stout from a steady diet of beer and roast beef. This print is additionally fascinating because it serves as an early example of the comedic connection between France and frogs. This particular print was published in the 1798 edition of "Hogarth Restored: The Whole Works of the celebrated William Hogarth" by G. C. & J. Robinson. The plates of this edition were engraved after Hogarth's plates by Thomas Cook and thus, this is usually referred to as the Cook edition. The original plate by Hogarth is part of a set entitled "The Invasion," first published in 1756, of which this is the first plate. The print is in good condition with some scuffs to the margin. 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.