London: Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, 1822.
Engraving and etching. Image measures 14.5 x 10.75". Sheet measures 25 x 18.75".
If this print is compared with Hogarth's self-portrait, one can begin to grasp the vitriolic nature of politics during the 1780s. The main motivation for this print was revenge as the target of this satire had personally attacked not only close friends of Hogarth, but also the great artist himself. To exact his revenge, Hogarth presents the poet Charles Churchill as an inebriated bear who hoists a wooden club bearing references to the various articles Churchill wrote and edited which greatly criticized the Crown and its supporters. By the time that this print was published, Hogarth had already made several satirical attacks on Churchill's accomplice John Wilkes for his continued criticisms of George III. Churchill responded by publishing a satirical poem entitled "An Epistle to William Hogarth,"which mocked Hogarth's physical decline. Hogarth's most direct response to Churchill's satire is obvious by having his pug, Trump, urinate on a copy of Churchill's pamphlet. Hogarth goes further by suggesting that Churchill writes sedition only to pay his heavy financial debt, as well as showing him as a debauched ex-clergyman, since he had been ordained as a minister but was ordered to resign his position in 1762 because of his enthusiasm for drinking and philandering. 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.