London: Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, 1822.
Engraving. Image measures 12.5 x 15 1/8". Sheet measures 17.5 x 23".
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 "France" illustrate the stark contrasts between the French and their significantly better-off adversaries, the English. Here, we glimpse at the patriotism of British citizens who are lining up to join the cause against France. This is in contrast to Hogarth's depiction of the poor hungry peasants who are chained and forced into the service across the channel. One man even stands on his tip-toes to meet the height requirements for the British army. A small crowd gathers around a caricature of King Louis XV who is made to curse the British for their naval victories. The robust nature of Hogarth's British people serves as an additional reminder of the superiority of Britain's constitutional monarchy and prosperity. This plate was reissued in an 1822 publication The Works of William Hogarth by Baldwin, Cradock and Joy ho 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. The print is in very good condition with deluxe margins. Minor wear to margins not affecting the image. 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.