O  You  Roast  Beef  of  Old  England

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). O the Roast Beef of Old England, &. The Gate of Calais. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Designed by W.m Hogarth / Engraved by T. Cook / Published by G. G. & J. Robinson, Pater-noster Row, Dec.r 1797., otherwise as above. 15⅜ × 18⅜ in (39.1 × 46.8 cm).

William Hogarth, The Gate of Calais (Roast Beef of Old England; Cook)

Hogarth catalog by the Tate Gallery, 1971/72, 136 with color ills. p. 73 (the painting of 1748). – Thematically belonging to Hogarth’s 2-sheet suite France & England of 1756, he was doubtless inspired by his friend’s Henry Fielding patriotic ballad The Roast Beef of Old England which the latter had written for his The Grub-Street Opera produced first in 1731 and whose popularity was unrivaled after it had been set to music anew by Richard Leveridge. It was sung with every new play. Before, after, occasionally even in-between:

“ When  mighty  Beef  was  the  Englishman’s  food … ”

But also at official dinners of the United States Marine Corps during the presentation of the beef. Oh you roast beef of old England!

Cook “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too, whose complete work he has engraved in copy” (Thieme-Becker) and whose original format he maintained contrary to all later Hogarth editions in his first, earlier edition, as here, too. For some sheets not published by Hogarth himself Cook became their first engraver, just as he also gained approval of a contemporary connoisseur as Maximilian Speck von Sternburg.

“ The scenery of the representation is the space between the inner and outer gates of the town’s fortifications, with the perspective into a street of this, however … Laterally of the gate the artist has depicted his arrest (as pretended spy) …

“ The true center of the composition is ‘John Bull’s elevated panacee’, a colossal roast beef that has just been landed from England, addressed for Madame Grandsire, and is carried by her cook to the place of its destination … (He) almost collapses under the load, a Capuchin in highest delight looks at and blesses the (roasting) … ”


The fat friar by the way a portrait of Hogarth’s friend, the engraver John Pine, which earned him the nickname of “Friar Pine”. – Of finest chiaroscuro on strong paper. – The slight lateral foxing at the reverse perceptible a little on the subject side in the white upper margin upper right only.

Offer no. 7,547 / EUR  343. / export price EUR  326. (c. US$ 394.) + shipping

William Hogarth, The Gate of Calais (Roast Beef of Old England)

– – – The same in Hogarth’s own etching jointly worked with Charles Mosley (c. 1720 – c. 1770). Inscribed: Painted by W.. Hogarth / Engrav’d by C.. Mosley & W.. Hogarth. / Publish’d according to Act of Parliament. March 1749., otherwise as above. 15⅛ × 18 in (38.4 × 45.6 cm).

Nagler, Hogarth, 32 and, Mosley, 4, reckoning it among his better works. – Illustration Hogarth Catalog Zurich, 1983, 65. – Wide-margined 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”]).

Offer no. 7,744 / EUR  164. (c. US$ 198.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Gates of Calais (Cook small)

– – – The same in Cook’s popular later, smaller version. Inscribed: Gates of Calais. / Hogarth pinx.t / T. Cook sculp. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, Jan.y 1st. 1807. Subject 5½ × 6¾ in (14 × 17 cm). – Trimmed within the wide white platemark.

Offer no. 8,943 / EUR  50. (c. US$ 60.) + shipping

William Hogarth, The Gate of Calais (Roast Beef of Old England; Rahl)

– – – The same in engraving by Carl Heinrich Rahl (Hoffenheim 1779 – Vienna 1843). (1818/23.) Inscribed: 46. 8⅝ × 11⅜ in (22 × 28.9 cm).

Offer no. 7,745 / EUR  84. (c. US$ 102.) + shipping

William Hogarth, The Gate of Calais (Roast Beef of Old England; Riepenhausen)

– – – The same in engraving by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840, university engraver there). Inscribed: 46 / W. Hogarth inv. pinx. 7½ × 11⅜ in (19 × 29 cm). – Early, toned impression. – Riepenhausen’s engravings after Hogarth (“very estimable”, Nagler) belong to his chief work and not least for being in the original direction they are partly even preferred to Hogarth’s own engravings.

Offer no. 7,746 / EUR  125. (c. US$ 151.) + shipping

– – – The same by Riepenhausen as before, but on slightly toned minor paper. 7½ × 11⅝ in (19.2 × 29.4 cm).

Offer no. 9,515 / EUR  95. (c. US$ 115.) + shipping

William Hogarth, The Gate of Calais (Roast Beef of Old England; Riepenhausen)

– – – The same by Riepenhausen as before, but in jet-black luminous impression from supposedly about 1850 from the plate somewhat shortened in the white lateral white margins. 7½ × 11⅝ in (19.2 × 29.4 cm).

Offer no. 9,514 / EUR  95. (c. US$ 115.) + shipping

William Hogarth, The Gate of Calais (Roast Beef of Old England; lithograph)

– – – The same in lithography by C. C. Böhme. (1833/36.) Inscribed: 46. / Das Thor von Calais oder der englische Rinderbraten. / C. C. Böhme lithograph. 9⅛ × 9 in (23.3 × 22.8 cm). – Extensive caption à la Lichtenberg in German. – Lower right in the text and white lateral margin somewhat stained, otherwise splendid impression of vibrant chiaroscuro.

Offer no. 7,747 / EUR  125. (c. US$ 151.) + shipping

– – – The same in steel engraving about 1840. Inscribed: Das Thor von Calais. 5¼ × 6 in (13.2 × 15.2 cm).

Offer no. 7,748 / EUR  40. (c. US$ 48.) + shipping

„ Wegen der Eile – das Werk soll Anfang nächster Woche verschenkt werden – würden wir Kurierdienst bevorzugen … Der guten Ordnung halber hier unsere Bestätigung, dass Ihr Paket … wohlbehalten bei uns eingetroffen ist … Wir würden die Verpackung ungern öffnen, weil das gute Stück gleich wieder auf Reisen gehen soll … “

(Herr F. R., 29. Aug./2. Sep. 2013)