The Perfection of Brutality

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). The Murder in the Churchyard. The cab driver Tom Nero became a highwayman who got his sweetheart to a shabby robbery at her mistress. But already tired of the seduced and her pangs of conscience he has exempted himself from her on the nightly churchyard. But the atrocious murder is observed and Tom is overwhelmed and bound by the neighbours armed with sticks and dung forks. Engraving. Inscribed: Published according to Act of Parliament Feb. 1. 1751. / Design’d by W. Hogarth. 15¼ × 12¾ in (38.8 × 32.3 cm).

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

William Hogarth, Murder in the Churchyard

“ To lawless Love when once betray’d, / Soon Crime to Crime succeeds:
At length beguil’d to Theft, the Maid / By her Beguiler bleeds.

Yet learn seducing Man! nor Night, / With all its sable Cloud,
Can screen the guilty Deed from sight; / Foul Murder cries aloud.

The gaping Wounds, and blood stain’d steel, / Now shock his trembling Soul
But Oh! what Pangs his Breast must feel, / When Death his Knell shell toll. ”

The famous sujet by which Hogarth confronted a brutalization beginning in early youth with a “Restrain the beginnings!”. Thus the acting earthly justice will first bring Tom Nero, the arch-rogue of this set, 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.

Offer no. 7,812 | EUR 187. (c. US$ 201.) + shipping

– – The same. 15¼ × 12¾ in (38.8 × 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”]).

Offer no. 14,409 | EUR 187. (c. US$ 201.) + shipping

– – The same. Steel engraving. C. 1850. Inscribed. 6¼ × 4¾ in (15.8 × 12.2 cm).

Offer no. 7,813 | EUR 25. (c. US$ 27.) + shipping

complete copies of the set and further individual plates available

„ Vielen Dank für Alles, liebe Grüße und schönes Wochenende von der Mosel Herzlichst “

(Frau A. B., 4. April 2003)