Auction 140, Lot 869

"[Lot of 2] The Company of Undertakers [on sheet with] The Lecture [and] [Subscription Receipt]", Hogarth, William

Subject: Satire

Period: 1746-1801 (dated)


Color: Black & White

See Description

William Hogarth was an English painter and printmaker whose work forged the cornerstone for English satirical art. This lot of three Hogarth engravings is presented on two sheets: A. The Company of Undertakers, dated 1801 (7 x 10.2"). 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.

B. The Lecture, dated 1801 (6.8 x 8"). This engraving of scholars at a lecture depicts Hogarth's commentary upon the institutions of universities and of 'higher" learning. The professor, believed to be William Fisher, the Registrar of Oxford, delivers a tedious lecture entitled Datur Vacuum (A vacuum is granted). Numerous students surround him and exhibit a myriad of responses to the lecture: indifference, boredom, scorn, amazement, skepticism, incredulity and drowsiness. This engraving was designed by Hogarth and engraved by T. Cook.

C. [Subscription Receipt], dated 1746 (8 x 7"). This is a subscription ticket for Hogarth's March to Finchly, a piece commenting on the British Army at the time. Most of Hogarth's prints were sold by subscription, whereby the subscriber paid half of the price upon subscription, and the remaining half upon receipt of the prints. This engraving depicts the Royal coat of arms being cut by scissors, surrounded by weapons and insignia, including bagpipes from the rebellious Scots.


Condition: A

Marginal soiling. The first sheet has a tear in right blank margin, far from image, that has been closed on verso with archival tape.

Estimate: $240 - $300


Closed on 5/23/2012