1795. Engraving with stipple. Image measures 14.75 x 10.75". Sheet measures 20.75 x 16.75"
This print serves as Hogarth's representation of himself as an artist and student of the great satirists since the sixteenth century. His oval portrait, therefore, rests physically and metaphorically on the works of Swift, Milton and Shakespeare. Hogarth has also placed a reference to his treatise Analysis of Beauty which also identifies him not only as an artist but also as a great theorist of art. The palette's inscription "The Lines of Beauty and Grace" relates to Hogarth's conclusion that beauty was based on serpentine lines. Hogarth's faithful companion and pug-dog, Trump, stands by his master's portrait as a reminder of Hogarth's tendency to quarrel with others. Following this theme, this plate was supposedly used for one of Hogarth's few specifically political satires against Charles Churchill in 1763 entitled "The Bruiser." This plate was originally used by Hogarth as his frontispiece for his collected works and published on June 1, 1765. As with most of Hogarth's artworks, this engraving was first an oil painting which is now held by the National Portrait Gallery in London. Once Hogarth's copper-plates were purchased by John and Joshua Boydell in 1789, some plates, including this print, were re-engraved by Benjamin Smith and republished on June 2, 1795. The print is in very good condition with two very minor tears to the wide margins. 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%u2019s satires remarkable. This print represents the epitome of Hogarth%u2019s skills as an artist and as a conscientious observer of humanity.