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Genuine, original William Hogarth engravings and etchings from Darvill's Rare Prints

William Hogarth was an English painter and printmaker who poignantly commented the English society of the eighteenth century with biting satire. The career and life of Hogarth were as unusual as his prints.

William was born as the son of a shopkeeper (his mother) and a schoolmaster and publisher. The youth of William was overshadowed by the chronic financial problems of his father, who was even imprisoned because of his debts. This humiliating experience formed Hogarth for the rest of his life.

Hogarth started an apprenticeship as a silversmith in 1714, but never finished it. He then tried his luck as an independent engraver for copper plates. His early commissions were for cards, book illustrations and single prints. In 1720, he registered at the John Vanderbank Art Academy. Around 1726 or earlier, he was taught painting by James Thornhill whose daughter he later married. He earned some reputation for theater decoration paintings.

Hogarth experienced his first big financial success with A Harlot's Progress, a series of paintings from which he produced engravings in 1732. Only the engravings survived. The paintings were lost in a fire in 1755.

A Harlot's Progress is a set of 6 prints about the hapless life of a prostitute. It was a completely new kind of genre prints that were referred as moral history subjects.

After the big success of A Harlot's Progress, Hogarth published a male counterpart series, A Rake's Progress - a story in eight plates showing the decline of a promising young man into a life of drinking and immoral behavior.

In 1743, the painting series Marriage à la Mode was completed. It is considered his masterpiece. In Marriage à la Mode Hogarth turned his satire on the follies of the upper classes. The theme of this series is about marriage for money. Although the prints of Marriage à la Mode sold well, the paintings did not. Therefore all prints designed afterwards, were created exclusively as print designs without any painted counterparts.

In 1747 followed the series Industry and Idleness, a moral story of an idle and an industrious apprentice in twelve plates.

In 1753 Hogarth wrote his book The Analysis of Beauty, a wrap-up of his artistic and esthetic principles.

Hogarth was a very controversial and individual character. Driven by a sense for justice, he missed no chance to get into a quarrel with his contemporaries. His most hated enemy was the British politician John Wilkes, whom he had ridiculed in one of his engravings. William Hogarth died on October 26, 1764.

The Analysis of Beauty
These two prints were designed as illustrations for Hogarth's aesthetic treatise The Analysis of Beauty. Sold separately from the book, because of their comic and serious interests,
they were intended as independent collector's items to be appreciated in their own right and as illustrations to be bound into the Analysis.
Analysis of Beauty by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Analysis of Beauty
Plate I

[Inscribed]: Designed, Engraved and Published by William Hogarth
(Heath edition, 1822 published by Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, London)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 19 3/8 x 14 11/16 inches

Condition: Excellent; Very minor plate rub, area of abrasion in lower right corner outside of image area.

[For sale in a complete set of 2 full page engravings, see below for details]

ANALYSIS OF BEAUTY (PLATE I)

This print depicts a statuary yard in which Hogarth has collected the various artifacts he wishes to comment on. The scene is believed to have been inpired by Socrates' discussion of beauty stimulated by the art objects in the yard of his friend Clito; the dialogue was translated from Xenophon's Memorabilia by Dr. Morell, a friend of the engraver. The yard contains the dignified classical sculptures known to the age with a miscellaneous and often comical assortment of modern art objects. In the center stands the Medicean Venus. To the right are statues of Julius Caesar hanging from a pulley and Apollo Belvedere. A short, overdressed Brutus stands on one side of Apollo over the falling Caesar; on the other side another overdressed figure clad as a judge sits with his foot on the head of a cherub. A second putto with a gallows in its hand cries at the judge's feet.

The Laocoön stands behind the Venus; on either side of the Venus lie a graceful sphinx and the satyr Silenus reclining on a wineskin. In the foreground rests "Michaelangelo's torso" by "Apollonius, son of Nestor." Beneath the Farnese Hercules a dancing master attempts to correct the posture of Antinous. Under two statuettes of Isis is another Hercules. The boot and the anatomical sketches of the three legs are balanced by the highly symmetrical figures (by Albrecht Dürer and G. P. Lomazzo) on the right.

Above the scene, a serpentine line wound around a cone, Hogarth's "Line of Beauty," stands as the keystone to his aesthetic theory. It appears in the figures in the central scene and in the drawings that border the print (most of which illustrate the points in the Analysis).

[Excerpts this page from Engravings by Hogarth, edited by Sean Shesgreen, (Dover 1973).]

 
Analysis of Beauty by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Analysis of Beauty
Plate I
I
[Inscribed]: Designed, Engraved and Published by William Hogarth
(Heath edition, 1822 published by Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, London)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 19 11/16 x 14 3/4 inches

Condition: Excellent; Very minor plate rub and press spots outside of image area.

[For sale in a complete set of 2 full page engravings, see below for details]

ANALYSIS OF BEAUTY (PLATE II)

Adapted from a design as party of the Happy Marriage series, the engraver's complement to Marriage à la Mode, this plate (which is usually said to represent the Wanstead Assembly with the Earl of Tynley and his household) illustrates Hogarth's theory about the linear presentation of attitude and action:

Thus, as two or three lines at first are sufficient to shew the intention of an attitude, I will take this opportunity of presenting my reader (who may have been at the trouble of following me thus far) with a sketch of a country-dance, in the manner I began to set out the design; in order to shew how few lines are necessary to express the first thoughts, as to different attitudes; see fig. 71. T. p. 2, which describe in some measure, the several figures and actions, mostly of the ridiculous kind, that are represented in the chief part of plate 2.

The most amiable person may deform his general appearance by throwing his body and limbs into plain lines, but such lines appear still in a more disagreeable light in people of a particular make, Ihave therefore chose such figures as I thought would agree best with my first score of lines, fig. 71.

The two parts of curves next to 71 served for the figures of the old woman with her partner at the farther end of the room. The curve and two straight lines at right angles, gave the hint for the fat man's sprawling posture. I next resolved to keep a figure within the bounds of a circle, which produced the upper part of the fat woman, between the fat man and the aukward one in the bag wig, for whom I had mad a sort of an X. The prim lady, his partner, in the riding-habit, by pecking back her elbows, as they call it, from the waste upwards, made a tolerable D, with a straight line under it, to signify the scanty stiffness of her peticoat; and a Z stood for the angular position the body makes with the legs and thighs of the affected fellow in the tye-wig; the upper parts of his plump partner was confin'd to an O, and this chang'd into a P, served as a hint for the straight lines behind. The uniform diamond of a card, was filled up the the flying dress, &c. of the little capering figure in the spencer-wig; whilst a double L mark'd the parallel position of his poking partner's hand and arms: and lastly, the two waving lines were drawn for the more genteel turns of the two figures at the hither end.

The best representation in a picture, of even the most elegant dancing, as every figure is rather a suspended action in it than an attitude, must be always somewhat unnatural and ridiculous; for were it possible in a real dance to fix every person at one instant of time, as in a picture, not one in twenty would appear to be graceful, tho' each were ever so much in their movements; nor could the figure of the dance itself be at all understood.

The dancing-room is also ornamental purposely with such statues and pictures as may serve to a farther illustration. Henry viii. fig. 72. p. 2, makes a perfect X with his legs and arms; and the position of Charles the first, fig. 51. p. 2, is composed of less-varied lines than the statue of Edward the sixth, fig. 73. p. 2; and the medal over Q. Elizabeth, as well as her figure, is in contrary; so are also the two other wooden figures at the end. Likewise the comical posture of astonishment (expressed by following the direction of one plain curve, as the dotted line in french print of Sancho, where Don Quixote demolishes the puppet shew, fig. 75, R. p. 2) is a good contrast to the effect of the serpentine lines in the fine turn of the Samaritan woman, fig. 74. L. p. 2, taken from one of the best pictures Annibal Carrache ever painted.

[Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, ed. Joseph Burke, pp. 146-148.]

In the right-hand corner of the print an exchange takes place which is typically Hogarthian in its self-contained, dramatic nature. To her displeasure a young wife or daughter is being compelled to leave the dance by a country squire (complete with dog) who points insistently to his watch. The girl accepts a letter from her lover as she dons her cloak.

Complete set of 2 full page plates
Analysis of Beauty

Original Copperplate Engravings and Etchings from:
The Works of William Hogarth from the Original Plates Restored by James Heath, Esq., R.A.; With the Addition of Many Subjects Not Before Collected: To Which is Prefixed, a Biographical Essay on the Genius and Productions of Hogarth, and Explanations on the Subjects of the Plates by John Nichols, Esq., F.S.A.

London. Printed for Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, Paternoster Row
by Nichols and Son, Parliament Street
1822

$750
(sold as a complete set of 2 full page original engravings only,
scroll down for any individual plates that may be available)

Please note: the shipping charge for these plates may need to be adjusted to account for a higher insurance value. (The US Postal Service's Internatonal Priority Mail only allows for $650 insurance to most countries, but service with higher insurance amounts is available at additional cost. Please enquire for service outside of the U.S.) If necessary, we will send you a secure electronic invoice for the additional amount.
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Analysis of Beauty
(click image to enlarge)

Analysis of Beauty
Plate 1


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
engraving on steel

Condition: Good
There is a tear at the top margin that was poorly "repaired" with tape on the front of the print. This would be easily covered with a mat/mount.

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

Analysis of Beauty
(click image to enlarge)

Analysis of Beauty
Plate 2


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
engraving on steel

Condition: Excellent


(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

SET OF 2 ANALYSIS OF BEAUTY PLATES
"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Analysis of Beauty
(click image to enlarge)

Analysis of Beauty


"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

One fox mark in lower right of image...Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided.

$20

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