Catalog Archive

Auction 135, Lot 746

"The Company of Undertakers", Hogarth, William

Subject: Satire

Period: 1820 (circa)


Color: Black & White

7 x 10.2 inches
17.8 x 25.9 cm

Hogarth's delightful commentary on the medical profession is presented in the form of a satirical coat-of-arms representing death rather than recovery. Bordered in black, like a mourning card, with cross bones in the bottom corners and bearing the motto Et Plurima Mortis Imago (And many an image of death). Three well known doctors appear at top. On the left is John Taylor, a charlatan oculist. The central figure is Sarah Mapp, a bonesetter, dressed in a clown suit, and on the right is Joshua Ward (Spot Ward) identified by the birthmark that covers one side of his face. Below are twelve more quacks, occupied in sniffing the heads of their canes (which, in the eighteenth century, contained disinfectant) or are absorbed by the contents of a urinal.


Condition: A

Margins trimmed but very ample except top margin, which is 1/4".

Estimate: $200 - $250

Sold for: $150

Closed on 2/16/2011