The City was at her Feet —
Polly Peachum !!
Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Miss (Lavinia) Fenton , later Duchess of Bolton, the original Polly Peachum of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera. Half length portrait in oval to the left. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Hogarth pinxt . / T. Cook sculp. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, May 1st. 1807., otherwise as above. Subject size 5⅝ × 10¼ in (14.2 × 10.8 cm).
Hogarth catalog of the Tate Gallery, 1971/72, 109 with ills. (oil, c. 1740). – The immensely praised Polly of John Rich’s first night of John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera (besides recollect the first night of Brecht’s Three Penny Opera exactly 200 years later) at the Theatre in Lincoln’s-Inn Fields in 1728. Still the same year the Duke of Bolton allowed the Fenton (1708-1760) a downright royal apanage and on the death of his duchess in 1751 she became his wife. Up to the expression of her eyes everything was in harmony with her and beauty and power of her voice had her sing a Polly which raised the audience in exultation and had the suitors run after her.
Cook “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too” (Thieme-Becker); present sujet, however, he has treated supposedly for the first time only in the small edition of the years 1806/09 following his folio edition. – Trimmed within the wide white platemark feebly browned particularly in the far parts.
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