|Description: We offer a satirical engraving of John Wilkes by William Hogarth, engraved by Thomas Cook. It is 15” x 10” on thick paper which measures 17” x 12 ¾”. The inscription under the image reads: “Designed by W. Hogarth, Engraved by T. Cook. John Wilkes Esqr. London Published by G.G. & J. Robinson Paternoster Row April 1st 1800.” Item #PR00252.
John Wilkes was a famous English radical, journalist, and politician. He is shown irreverently seated holding a stick with a cap that says “Liberty”; a reference to ancient Rome, where former slaves would wear caps to symbolize their freedom. Wilkes has an under bite, crooked teeth, a gangly crossed-eyed stare and his prominent wig forms devilish, sweeping horns. There are copies of North Briton 45 and 17 strewn on the desk next to him. Hogarth was attacked for his anti-war satire “The Times” in these papers. This etching was a Hogarth’s biting response.
English painter, printmaker and satirist William Hogarth (1697-1764) created a series of paintings satirizing contemporary customs, based on earlier Italian prints, of which the first was 'The Harlot's Progress' (1731), and perhaps the most famous 'The Rake's Progress'. His engravings were so plagiarized that he lobbied for the Copyright Act of 1735 as protection for writers and artists.
By the 1790’s most of Hogarth’s original plates were so worn they didn’t produce quality images. The British printmaker Thomas Cook took up the task of re-engraving Hogarth’s entire catalogue. The complete edition was called “Hogarth Restored” and was published by Robinson.
Condition: The print retains its original margins on three sides, the left side is trimmed to the plate. There are ¾” spots of adhesive residue at all four corners, a ¼” abrasion in the upper right of the engraving and overall surface soiling. The image itself is still in good condition, a fine impression.