George Caleb Bingham, County Election
George Caleb Bingham, The County Election

Only  the  Choice  makes  an  Election


William Hogarth, Polling at the Hustings

The  Portrait  of  Corrupted  Parties

and  a  Rotten  Society

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Four Prints of an Election. Set of 4 sheet engravings by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Hogarth pinx(t). / T. Cook, sculp(t). / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees(,) & Orme(,) (May 1st. 1807 – Oct. 1st. 1809). Subject size 5¾-6⅛ × 7⅜-7¾ in (14.6-15.5 × 18.8-19.7 cm).

1. Humours of an Election Entertainment. – 2. Canvassing for Votes. – 3. Polling at the Hustings. – 4. Chairing the Members.

Hogarth’s  famous set full of contemporary allusions – belonging to his “most mature creations” (Thieme-Becker) and here in Cook’s small repetition – is

the  best  known  graphic  depiction  of  an  election  of  representatives .

Its origin in the classic country of parliamentarism imparts a particular significance to it. For it is at the same time – inspired by events in Oxfordshire during the elections of 1754, published 1755-58 – the portrait of not only corrupt politicians and parties but, of a rotten society as such. After all besides the usual feast and gorge documented on all plates as part of every election in Hogarth’s time bribery,

“ … first pursued systematically by Sir Robert Walpole and the Whigs, (was) practiced still far more scandalously than later; so it remained during the second half of the past century and till our days … Because then the possession of a parliamentary place was frequently regarded as a simple trade speculation, as the elected sold … his vote to the government for a sum of money, a sinecure, a post or a delivery, and thereupon could be re-elected by a rotten borough, a procedure which was so much easier as the minister Walpole had raised such a bribery of the members of the parliament – ‘every man has his price’ – literally to a system of government. Also Hogarth’s present plates give allusions of this ”


A wag who thinks at this of the independence of the representatives, the obligation to vote for the party line, and the election tickets given away by the parties today. And of the disgust the class of professional politicians causes with today’s voters when Thieme-Becker sum up:

“ … a  delightful  satire  on  the  vice  of  bribery

and  the  demoralization  of  the  people  tied  to  that . ”

But beyond the fullness of allusions Hogarth puts a special stamp on the abjectness and venal partiality of the whole proceedings. As these plates, too, are together caricatures or parodies of classic – and by this pure and clean – works from the Renaissance and Baroque:

So the first leaf up to the caption – not included in this version anymore – “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me” after Leonardo’s Last Supper. Followed by plate two with the farmer being bribed by both sides as inversion of The Choice of Hercules. The election itself in turn taking up Tizian’s Presentation of the Virgin while the last leaf, the triumphal march of the elected new member of the parliament, even alludes to Alexander the Great in Le Brun’s Victory of Alexander over Darius. Wherein the imperial eagle there had to give way to a goose here. Which by that what it lets fall even anticipates the new member’s contribution to the parliamentary debate.

This embedding in the canon of timeless art imparting to the set together and contrary to Lichtenberg’s reading that the pictures and their details were intelligible only from and in their own time

their  own  timelessness  valid  through  the  centuries .

Which is even stressed by Hogarth’ often ambiguous or – depending on time and position – differently interpretable sarcasm. – See the complete description.

Offer no. 8,895 / EUR  375. / export price EUR  356. (c. US$ 430.) + shipping

– – – The same. Set of 4 sheet steel engravings. C. 1850. Inscribed. 5⅛-5¼ × 6¼-6⅜ in (12.9-13.5 × 15.8-16.2 cm).

Offer no. 12,169 / EUR  249. (c. US$ 301.) + shipping

Who  would  shoot  himself  for  that !?

Take  it  easy

since the chain of those through the centuries is long !

And  anyway  you  will  have  to  donate  it  to  your  opponent

for  that  he  will  not … , see  above !

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). A Country Inn Yard (or The Election Procession in the Yard). The last travelers enter the overland stagecoach, the postilion already took the box, and the landlady acting as post-mistress urges for hurry by heavily ringing the bell. In the front a hunched small postilion asks a corpulent gentleman changing coaches here for a gratuity for the previous stage. Engraving. Inscribed: Design’d and Engrav’d by W. Hogarth. — Publish’d According to Act of Parliament. 1747. 8⅝ × 12¼ in (22 × 31 cm).

Nagler 30. – After the painting of 1747. – Apart from the rich postal scene the actual happenings – in addition to the Four Prints of an Election – concern the mockery of a

“ candidate  defeated  in  a  parliamentary  election ”

whose effigy – as already in regard of the Duke of Newcastle on plate 1 of the Election set – is carried round in a procession of the opposing party. This all the more annoying as the defeat is caused by formalities, that is the yet barely missed age of the candidate, and thus was foreseeable. Accordingly unwillingly an agent of the unfortunate – a copy of the Act against bribery and corruption in his pocket – foots the bill for the wasted election entertainment to the landlord.

“ The well-known plate … shows with Dickens’ humour a comfortable depiction of rural petty bourgeoisie ”

(Thieme-Becker XVII, p. 297, 2).

Impression on strong paper from the plate retouched by the royal engraver James Heath (1757 London 1834) about 1822 (“Even these impressions have become relatively rare today though”, Art Gallery Esslingen 1970; and Meyers Konv.-Lex., 4th ed., VIII [1888], 625: “A fine edition”, esteemed also already by contemporary collectors of the rank of for instance an A. T. Stewart [Catalog of the Stewart Collection, New York 1887, 1221, “fine plates”]). – See the complete description.

Offer no. 7,803 / EUR  135. (c. US$ 163.) + shipping

– – – The same in engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Hogarth pinxt. / T. Cook & Son sc. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, May 1st. 1808. Subject size 4¾ × 6¾ in (12.2 × 17.1 cm).

Cook’s smaller version, engraved together with his son. – Trimmed within the wide white platemark.

Offer no. 8,941 / EUR  60. (c. US$ 73.) + shipping

– – – The same in engraving by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840). Inscribed: W. Hogarth pinx. 1747. / E. Riepenhausen sc. 8⅜ × 10½ in (21.3 × 26.7 cm).

Riepenhausen’s  works  after  Hogarth  ( “very valuable” ) belong to his major work and are partially even preferred to those by Hogarth. – In regard of the especially fine, sturdy paper supposedly an impression for a special edition about 1830. – Margins somewhat age-spotted. Equally the image itself slightly.

Offer no. 7,804 / EUR  118. (c. US$ 143.) + shipping

– – – The same in lithography. (1833/36.) Inscribed: Die Landkutsche. 9¾ × 9⅜ in (24.7 × 23.7 cm). – Extensive caption in German.

Offer no. 7,805 / EUR  125. (c. US$ 151.) + shipping

“ Down  with  the  Rump  Parliament ”

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Burning ye Rumps at Temple-Barr. Down with the rump parliament. Symbolic burning of the parliament that in 1648 Cromwell cleaned of its Presbyterian members as a milestone for his further show of power. It then executed Charles I instead of holding negotiations with him and thus rang in the Puritan republic which itself almost turned into a Cromwell monarchy. Place of the event the London gate Temple Barr. One of the iconoclasts with the convenant of the Presbyterian Scots in his hands, another one holding up the banner: Down with the Rumps. Engraving. Inscribed: W. Hogarth inv. delin. et sculp. 10⅞ × 20¼ in (27.7 × 51.6 cm).

Nagler 10-11. – HUDIBRAS XI. – 6-quatrain caption abbreviated from Samuel Butler’s (1613-1680) poem. – Impression on strong paper from the plate retouched by the royal engraver James Heath (1757 London 1834) about 1822 (“Even these impressions have become relatively rare today though”, Art Gallery Esslingen 1970; and Meyers Konv.-Lex., 4th ed., VIII [1888], 625: “A fine edition”, esteemed also already by contemporary collectors of the rank of for instance an A. T. Stewart [Catalog of the Stewart Collection, New York 1887, 1221, “fine plates”]).

Scenically  rich  plate  to  the  history  of  parliamentarism .

See the complete description.

Offer no. 14,730 / EUR  390. / export price EUR  371. (c. US$ 448.) + shipping

Harmless  Cause  for  Domestic  Fire  with  Second  Thoughts

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). The Politician. The politician reading the newspaper, holding the candle close to his eyes for better reading while not becoming aware of how it burns through his hat. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Hogarth pinxt. / T. Cook sculpt. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme, July 1st. 1809., otherwise as above. Image size 7 × 5⅝ in (17.8 × 14.3 cm).

William Hogarth, The Politician

Cook’s (“made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too”, Thieme-Becker) smaller version. – Trimmed within the wide white platemark. – Barely perceptible slight fold in the lower image/platemark.

Published posthumously only the drawing alludes to the circumstances about 1730. The politician – by the way the then well-known London lace dealer Tibson – looking fascinatedly at the continental events of which the paper reports, while disregarding his own nearest problems indicated by his burning hat.

Offer no. 9,004 / EUR  189. (c. US$ 228.) + shipping

You  have  voted :

Honoré Daumier, Ceci a tué cela

Daumier, Honoré (Marseille 1808 – Valmondois 1879). Ceci a tué cela. Looking up to God the lamenting figure points with the left to the oui’s of the ballot box, with the right at the fallen. Lithograph. (1870-71.) Monogrammed, otherwise as above. 9¾ × 7¾ in (24.6 × 19.8 cm).

Delteil 3845, III (of 4) with illustration of the 4th state; Rümann ills. 109. – Careful impression on better paper without the text on the back and the Actualité series title, before the black spot within the “oui” above the ballot box.

Worked  in the great style of the final years, omitting all material and “accusing the wrong of the war in symbolic figures only” (Glaser). – See the complete description.

Offer no. 6,443 / EUR  343. / export price EUR  326. (c. US$ 394.) + shipping

„ bereits heute ist der Stahlstich der Harfe spielende Dame wohlbehalten bei mir angekommen und übertrifft meine Erwartungen weit. Als Berufsharfenistin werde ich sicher viel Freude an dem Bild haben. Mit ganz herzlichem Dank und freundlichen Grüßen “

(Frau C. K., 6. August 2016)