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

 

William Hogarth and his pug

However comic the figures in "A Chorus of Singers" may be, they certainly are intended by Hogarth to stand as an instructive contrast to the group in "A Midnight Modern Conversation." Conceived in the spirit of Jan Steen's drinking scene As Old Folks Sing, Young Folks Pipe, Hogarth's print is a realistic London version of the genre of paintings which celebrate bacchanalian festivals. Less rigorously didactic and more comic than "Gin Lane" (which treats the drinking problems of the working classes), its purpose is to show the follies of overindulging in liquor, and to that end it exhibits a spectrum of effects produced by different degrees of intoxication.

The drunkest figure in the scene may be the soldier (with the cockade in his hat) who sprawls out on the floor, his hand pointing moralistically to the pile of empty bottles and the lemons beneath a table leg shaped at the top into a grotesque, Bosch-like thing. A stumbling physician attempts to administer aid to him by pouring liquor on his head wounds. His glass balanced perilously on the table's edge, a wigless, snoring figure is about to tumble backward. Beside him two figures, who seem to have quarreled sit back to back.

In the center of the table a stupefied fellow tells a heart-felt tale to an amused, skeptical lawyer. An excited man sings out a toast as he crowns a well-fed clergyman. The practiced clergyman, who stirs the punch solicitously with one hand and holds a pipe and a corkscrew in the other, is the only person still relishing the liquor. In contrast to this capacious parson, the figure next to him, in a vain attempt to reach the large, overflowing chamber pot, vomits at the table unnoticed. In more hazard, the man by his side attempting to relight his pipe (filled with "Freemans Best") has fired his ruffled sleeve. The politically divergent London Journall and The Craftsman, which lie significantly close to his oversized sword (not even the soldier is armed), suggest that he is a politician.

The morning light casts the window's reflection on the bottle the physician tips over. A tranquil Oriental scene decorates the punchbowl in the center of the picture.

[Excerpt from Engravings by Hogarth, edited by Sean Shesgreen (Dover, 1973).]

 

 

In this work the artist humorously satirizes the activities that took place in the drinking clubs that had sprung up in early eighteenth-century London to cater to a male clientele drawn from the middle and professional classes — clubs that we know Hogarth himself regularly frequented in this period. Rather than sipping tea or even, as in some conversation pieces of the period, politely drinking wine, Hogarth’s male protagonists, gathered around a table dominated by a huge punch bowl, are pictured in a state of extreme inebriation.

A Midnight Modern Conversation by William Hogarth

(Click image above for photo of entire plate. The digital Darvill's watermark does not appear on the antique engraving.)

A Midnight Modern Conversation

Invented, Painted and Engraved by William Hogarth

Original Copperplate Engraving and Etching 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

Sheet size: approximately 25¼ x 19¼ inches, thick woven paper.
(approx. 64cm x 48cm)

Condition: Excellent. A nice, dark impression. 2-inch tear at left edge – well away from image area. A fox mark in extreme upper margin at edge of paper.
Please refer to enlarged photograph by clicking on the thumbnail image above. Any "rainbow" effect on the photo is a digital photography artifact and is not visible on the actual antique engraving.

$750

 

A Midnight Modern Conversation

(click image above for photo of entire plate)

A Midnight Modern Conversation

Invented, Painted and Engraved by William Hogarth

Original Copperplate Engraving and Etching 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

Sheet size: approximately 25¼ x 19¼ inches, thick woven paper.
(approx. 64cm x 48cm)

Condition: Very Good to Excellent. A few unobtrusive fox marks in outer margins; very soft crease lower left corner well outside image area; mild overall age toning of paper

A Midnight Modern Conversation
(click image to enlarge)

A Midnight Modern Conversation

"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


Condition: Fair, some foxing. Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided.

 

 

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