William Hogarth. "Plates of An Election". Set of Four of Prints.
London: Hogarth, 1755-58. Each ca. 15 7/8 x 21 1/4. Engraved by Hogarth. Heavy laid paper. Excellent impressions. Generous margins. Old tape residue on verso of top margins all four prints and old tape glue stain just into image at top on "Canvasing for Votes." Staining/soiling in margins outside of plate mark not affecting images. Else, very good condition. A/A
- "Plate I. An Election Entertainment." 4th state.
- "Plate II. Canvassing for Votes." 2nd state.
- "Plate III. The Polling." 2nd state.
- "Plate IV. Chairing the Members." 1st state.
William Hogarth (1697-1764) is considered by many to be the greatest English caricaturist of all time. He was a perceptive observer and his illustrations of the social and political conduct of his day are fascinating historical documents and humorous depictions of human foibles, which have remained much the same over the last two centuries. Hogarth was a painter of considerable accomplishment but it is for his prints that he is best known.
Originally, Hogarth sold his prints in his own shop, as well as through other printsellers in London. In the mid-1730s he began also to sell his prints in bound form. Hogarth's fame spread and his popularity grew. However, while his prints sold well, Hogarth was constantly bothered by the sale of cheap copies. In response, he was instrumental in the 1735 passage of the Engravers' Copyright Act, often called "Hogarth's Act," which prohibited the unauthorized copying of a print for fourteen years following its publication. Early in his career, a number of Hogarth's plates were acquired by other printsellers, but most he retained in his possession until his death, leaving them in his will to his widow, Jane Hogarth. Jane continued to issue prints from these plates and she was able to secure an extended copyright of 20 years beginning in 1767. Upon Jane's death in 1789, the plates passed into the possession of printmaker, John Boydell. Boydell reissued the folio twice, and the plates were later acquired by Baldwin, Cradock & Joy in 1818.
These prints, engraved by Hogarth himself were issued during his lifetime as judged by the state of the printing and the paper. Most of his works were printed after his death as restrikes or reproductions, but these are superb lifetime renderings.
Sold as Complete Set of Four.