Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Hudibras’s First Adventure. The English Don Quixote, the gun drawn, in fight with a mob brandishing clubs, among a one-legged fiddler and a showman with dancing bear. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). (1802.) Inscribed: Plate 3, / Design’d by W Hogarth. / Engrav’d by T. Cook, otherwise as above + 4 distiches as caption. 10½ × 14 in (26.7 × 35.7 cm).
HUDIBRAS III. – Cook “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too (1795-1803) whose complete work he has reproduced” (Thieme-Becker VII, 1912, p. 348/I) and whose original format he maintained in contrast to all later Hogarth editions, which moreover mostly don’t contain the consequently rarer Hudibras. Several works not published by Hogarth himself had been engraved by Cook for the first time as he met with approval by a contemporary connoisseur as Maximilian Speck von Sternburg, too. – Below trimmed within the white platefield and there also quite minimally water-stained. – On buff paper. – Of brilliant chiaroscuro.
“ is a vulgarized (English) Don Quixote , a dewitted Rabelais ”
(Laaths, Geschichte der Weltliteratur, 1953, p. 375), a “satiric scourge” (Meyers Konv.-Lex., 4th ed., III, 693/I) on the politically just sacked Puritanism and the best-known work of its creator esteemed by Charles II,
(Strensham, Worcestershire, 1612/13 – London 1680), as result of his impressions in the employ of Cromwell’s Colonel Sir Samuel Luke, “at which religious and political sects were about” (Meyers). Remaining incomplete the first two parts of the epic were published in 1663/64, a third one in 1678, then, joined, long-lived through the centuries. In three cantos each
“ describing in rough, mostly eight-syllabic songs (later known as ‘hudibrastic verse’) the loosely connected, grotesque adventures of two Puritans, the knight Hudibras and his shield-bearer Ralpho. Hogarth has engraved two different sets of illustrations to this poem: twelve large, carefully executed engravings he has created on his own, independently of a publisher, and published in February 1726, and seventeen smaller ones which have more the character of woodcuts and presumably done before, but were published the following April only in a poem edition. These follow the course of the action while the large sheets only represent the decisive scenes with an abridgement as legend … Epic and pictures are an antiheroic satire on Puritanism and sectarianism ”
(Margrit Bachofen-Moser in Hogarth Catalogue Zurich, 1983, pp. 25 ff. illustrating the large version in partly differing arrangement).
In the first instance Cook repeated the 12-sheet large version in its original format as for the 3rd sheet in question then here, too, years later in a popular small one of only c. 5½ × 6¾ in (14 × 17 cm) subject size.
The Hudibras set – Thieme-Becker judge – is “of decisive significance for Hogarth’s development.
Here lies the key to the understanding of the satirist H. ”
(Thieme-Becker XVII , 300/II).
And Austin Dobson in the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911 :
“ These (plates Hogarth) himself valued highly, and they are the best of his book illustrations. But he was far too individual to be the patient interpreter of other men’s thoughts, and it is not in this direction that his successes are to be sought … (And generally resuming) If we regard him – as he loved to regard himself – as ‘author’ rather than ‘artist’, his place is with the great masters of literature – with the Thackerays and Fieldings, the Cervantes and Molières. ”
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– – – The same in Cook’s smaller version with the caption being replaced by the series title. Inscribed: Pl. III. / Hogarth pinxt. / HUDIBRAS. / T. Cook sculpt. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme, Septr. 1st. 1807. Subject size 5½ × 6¾ in (13.9 × 17.1 cm). – Trimmed within the wide white platemark and this at three sides in the outer part slightly foxed and browned resp.
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– – – The same in Hogarth’s own etching/engraving of 1726 with the Sayer address of the 1768 new edition and here in the impression on strong paper 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 , 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”]). Inscribed: 3 (by the publisher) / W. Hogarth delin et sculp. / London Printed for Robt. Sayer, Map & Printseller, at No. 53 in Fleet Street., otherwise with title + caption. 10¾ × 13⅝ in (27.4 × 34.6 cm). – Hogarth Catalog Zurich, 1983, ills. 3.
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„ … wieder eine große Freude, Post von Ihnen zu erhalten und in eine Lektüre eintauchen zu können, die sich so wohltuend von dem journalistischen Einheitsbrei der täglichen Presse unterscheidet “
(Herr T. L., 9. Januar 2011)