Attorneys and Drayman

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). A Morning in London. Daily turbulence at Thavie’s Inn Coffee House, today for a change the sleeping drayman on his fully loaded cart, running over a boy while additionally the bung of one of the barrels got off and the much demanded thirst-quencher runs onto the street. But also Tom Nero’s overturned coach in front left with the four attorneys on their way to Westminster promises troubles for the coachman. Engraving. Inscribed: Designed by W. Hogarth. / Published according to Act of Parliament Feb. 1. 1751. 15⅜ × 12¾ in (39.1 × 32.3 cm).

The Four Stages of Cruelty II. – With 12-lined caption in three verses by supposedly Rev. James Townley:

William Hogarth, Morning in London

“ The generous Steed in hoary Age / Subdu’d by Labour lies;
And mourns a cruel Master’s rage, / While Nature Strength denies.

The tender Lamb o’er drove and faint, / Amidst expiring Throws;
Bleats forth it’s innocent complaint / And dies beneath the Blows.

Inhuman Wretch! say whence proceeds / This coward Cruelty?
What Int’rest springs from barb’rous deeds? / What Joy from Misery? ”

The famous sujet by which Hogarth successfully tried to call the attention to the brutalization of the lower classes. Since – so Lichtenberg – “supposedly the drayman will know to comfort himself over the unlucky boy, but have quite different feelings in regard of the suffered (beer) damage”. But also the attorneys’ driver should not be in a good mood either as “(e)ven every single one of the four would be able to bring the coachman to the Justice of the Peace to enforce forfeit for the suffered shock”.

That the attorneys let themselves be driven by Tom Nero at all

is the gag pure and simple :

For he is the arch-rogue of this set. Whom an acting earthly justice finally will bring first on the gallows, then into the anatomic theatre. The latter due to common prejudices of especially deterring effect.

Harmonic impression, perhaps from the complete edition published by Boydell 1790-1809. – Some backed small tears in the broad white and a tidemark in the upper left corner.

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– – The same. 15¼ × 12¾ in (38.7 × 32.3 cm). – Deep impression 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”]).

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– – The same. Steel engraving. C. 1850. Inscribed. 6¼ × 4¾ in (15.9 × 12.2 cm).

Offer no. 6,018 | EUR 65. (c. US$ 67.) + shipping

complete copies of the set and further individual plates available

„ Als kleinen Dank für Ihre immer mit großer Freude und ebensolchem Interesse entgegengenommenen stets neuen Ridinger-Informationen anbei … “

(Herr T. L., 19. Dezember 2014)