Betrayal in the Cellar Bar

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). The Idle ‘Prentice betray’d by his Whore, & taken in a Night Cellar with his Accomplice. The former weaver’s apprentice Tom Idle, betrayed by his lover for a coin, arrested by the police in the cellar dive just the moment he parts the booty of his murderous highway robbery while a third accomplice pushes the victim through a trap-door. The damsel will have to return the jug of beer undrunk. In the background by the way a full-fledged punch-up. Etching. Inscribed: Design’d & Engrav’d by Wm. Hogarth. / Plate 9 / Publish’d according to Act of Parliamt. Sep 30. 1747. 10½ × 13¾ in (26.6 × 34.9 cm).

William Hogarth, Tom Idle betrayed by a Whore and taken

Industry & Idleness IX. – Illustration Hogarth Catalogue Zurich, 1983, 61. – 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”]) on wide-margined sturdy paper. – Somewhat palish.

“ Tom’s career nears to its ends. His fate is the usual of vice and crime; friendship and love remain strange to him … By the way he even appears to be the best of the whole party assembled in the cellar dive, compared with the others a gentleman and therefore supposedly the only highwayman of the gang since in the ranking of thieves the latter stands far above the crook and the pickpocket … Further Tom’s lover who betrays him exchanges such looks with the chief constable that one is justified to conclude … that she has pursued a trade the police need everywhere, but which public opinion considers even lower than the true crime, that is espionage … Finally one sees … three playing cards lying on the floor, of which an ace is damaged at one corner, obviously by frequent folding of it to recognize the card on the back. Hence double game is in this cellar as usual as the other already mentioned virtues ”


The master’s famous, most popular suite, showing by example of two apprentices in a weaving mill as one of the main branches of industry in his days the chances of their life as well as the temptations detrimental to their career :

Calculated for the use & Instruction of youth
w(h)erein every thing necessary to be known was to be made
as intelligible as possible

(Hogarth in his Autobiographical Notes).

“ The scenes should be as easily intelligible as possible for which the engravings had not to be worked in all fineness. It was rather important to keep costs low so that even apprentices could buy these sheets. Hogarth designed a frame-like border around each picture – supposedly he assumed that the boys would pin up these engravings directly at the wall. In this border below every scene he had added a characteristic verse from the Bible to the idle and (or) industrious apprentice … at top on the one hand a cat-o-’nine-tails, a pair of fetters, and a halter as emblems of the tragic end of the idle apprentice and on the other hand golden chain, sword and mace as hints to the career of the industrious one ”

(Bachofen-Moser, William Hogarth in the Art Gallery Zurich, 1983, p. 98).

Offer no. 7,707 | EUR 76. (c. US$ 78.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Tom Idle betrayed by a Whore and taken (Cook small)

– – – The same. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818; “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too” [Thieme-Becker]), worked together with his son. Inscribed: Pl. IX. / Hogarth pinxt. / T. Cook & Son sc. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme, August 1st. 1808. Subject size 5⅛ × 6¾ in (13.1 × 17 cm). – Trimmed within the wide white platemark. – Cook’s popular smaller version, but without verse and marginal emblems and with the series title as caption.

Offer no. 8,887 | EUR 76. (c. US$ 78.) + shipping

– – – The same in steel engraving about 1840. 5⅛ × 6¼ in (13 × 15.9 cm). – With title in German + English, but without verse and marginal emblems.

Offer no. 7,708 | EUR 40. (c. US$ 41.) + shipping

further single sujets from the set available in various qualities

“ ich habe kuerzlich Ihre web site über die Rugendasfamilie gefunden, welche ich von grosser inhaltlicher Qualität und Interesse finde … ”

(Señ. G. E., 19. Dezember 2003)