towards the end of the 7-year war
as a Global Conflict of Modern Dimension
The Change of Government in England
threatens the Surviving of Prussia
1697 London 1764
John Wilkes Esqr. (editor of the North Briton Journal) + The Times or The Political Blaze caused by the Unlawful “General Warrant against Writers, Printers, and Vendors” of the North Briton. 3 sheet. Engravings, 2 of them by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed (2). 13⅞ × 9⅝ and 9⅝-6⅛ × 12⅜-12⅝ in (35.3 × 24.5 and 24.5-25.5 × 31.5-32 cm) resp.
Wilkes’ (publicist, 1727-1797,
hero “of the even then highly important press”)
“ principal efficacy, however, started (June 1762) with his journal The North Briton (that) was soon recognized by the government (William Pitt I, 1708-1778) as the most dangerous weapon of the opposition” (Lichtenberg). “The Under-Secretary Halifax then issued a warrant violating the habeas corpus act that was not directed at a specific person, but against the authors of the paper in general (see above). W. then was imprisoned; the court, however, ordered his release … This result was insofar important for the whole of England as henceforth warrants without name remained abolished. Thereupon W. arranged a reprint of the ‘North Briton’ … ”
(Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 4th ed. XVI, 648 in great detail
and this still after 130 years !) .
“ Hogarth portrayed the figure when Wilkes was brought from the Tower to the Court of Common Pleas during the trial that made him to the hero of freedom … The leaf was published (on May 16, 1763) during the excitement Wilkes’ trial stirred up, and thus had such a success that several thousand impressions were sold in the first week ”
The sitting portrait shows him, little flattering, but true, in determined position with the hat of freedom on top of a long pole. On the little table at his side the notorious No. 45 of the paper tearing to rags the King’s Speech of George III, and the 17th issue in which Wilkes criticized the 1st sheet of Hogarth’s Times.
The 2-sheet TIMES set in this context .
The first, published in 1762 – illustration of the Cook version after the copy here in Johansen, Fra Forsyn til Fremsyn, Forsikringens Vesen, Opprinnelse og Utvikling, Oslo 2003, p. 349 – , shows the distributor of the North Briton and the Monitor with a visibly emptied push cart documenting the heavy demand amidst the (political) blaze of those days kindled by Pitt’s resignation
“ Really Frederick (II of Prussia) got into worst crisis by the policy of the new English government under George III and Lord Bute: because England had obtained in overseas what it wanted it needed Frederick’s no longer. Bute even intended to come to terms with Austria at the expense of Prussia. So Frederick dispensed with further English support; nevertheless he collected an army of 120,000 men for 1762.
The way out to him opened the sudden death of his grim enemy Elizabeth (1762, daughter of Peter the Great) and the accession to the throne of czar Peter III; then this … made peace with him at 5th May … ”
(Orthband, Deutsche Geschichte, 1954, pp. 603 f.).
Quite above in the left dormer-window as the quarters of the poor yellow press possibly Wilkes himself with a fire-hose directed against the Pitt successor Count Bute as the royal fireman. One of the most concentrated charges by the artist.
The 2nd sheet from 1763 depicting bouncing topsy-turvydom together with the hated Wilkes – wishful presentation in which government and, for quite personal reasons, see above, Hogarth met – with neck and hands in the stocks under the category Defamation, on his breast a North Briton, the purses empty, pissed at. The triumph of justice
– freedom , popular fame & big money for the publisher –
caused Hogarth as his widow, too, to hold back the already completed plate. It was published only posthumously by Boydell in 1790 and the impression here from the plate possibly retouched by the royal engraver James Heath about 1822 of correspondingly good quality. – Résumé :
The graphic triad of the artistic contemporary on the scene
to the European-German , together global , event of the century .
“ We all must take comfort from that, that our century forms an epoch of world history and that we have been witnesses of events as the change of things has not caused in such an extraordinary manner for a long time. That means much for our curiosity, but nothing for our fortune ”
(Frederick II to his favourite sister Henriette, margravine of Bayreuth).
The two Cook versions – in the original format as in none of the later Hogarth editions – in very fine impressions of inevitably wonderful chiaroscuro in TIMES I. The background hatching of the Wilkes portrait illustrating that he is behind bars. The first below, the latter on the left trimmed within the platemark. TIMES I slightly marginally foxing. Its backside certain foxing not showing through into the picture.
Offer no. 12,387 / EUR 657. / export price EUR 624. (c. US$ 721.) + shipping
– – – The same in Cook’s smaller version of 1809. Subject size 7 × 5¼ and 5⅞ × 7⅜-7½ in (17.7 × 13.4 and 15 × 18.7-19.2 cm resp. – Trimmed within the wide white platemark and here in the outer part time-stained.
Offer no. 12,389 / EUR 217. (c. US$ 251.) + shipping
– – – The same in steel engraving. C. 1840. 6⅜ × 4¼ and 4⅞ × 6⅛ in (16.2 × 10.8 and 12.5 × 15.5 cm) resp.
Offer no. 12,388 / EUR 138. (c. US$ 160.) + shipping
(Herr K. O., 6. Februar 2009)