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The  one  and  only  Portrait  of  Fielding

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Henry Fielding. Ætatis XLVIII. Half-length portrait to the left in oval medallion before wall. On the pedestal below sword and – half covered – balance as the insignia of the Judge of Peace of Westminster, dominated, however, by two masks and laurel, but foremost letters and books as well as inkstand with pen for his activity as writer and novelist. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed in the rim of the medallion as above. Subject size 7⅞ × 5¼ in (20 × 13.5 cm).

William Hogarth, Henry Fielding (Cook small)

National Portrait Gallery D11271. – For his whole lifetime Fielding – friend of Hogarth as well as of the great Shakespeare actor Garrick – had never sat for a painter:

“ On his death from several sides the wish was expressed to get a portrait of him. Hogarth … drew the present portrait with the pen and showed it Garrick who recognized the famous novelist immediately. Hogarth himself has not published this portrait, but let other artists have it for use ”

(Lichtenberg).

As by far outweighing the “Statutes at Large” on the right among Fielding’s literary works the Tom Jones of course and – opened – Amelia as well as the two volumes of Joseph Andrews whose preface refers to Hogarth as Comic History Painter, just as generally the social and moral intents of both fertilized each other. As in reverse then Austin Dobson writes, too, in the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911:

“ 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. ”

However, popular-immortal he became by the patriotic ballad The Roast Beef of Old England he had written for his The Grub-Street Opera produced first in 1731, after Richard Leveridge had set it to music anew. It was sung with every new play. Before, after, occasionally even in-between:

“ When  mighty  Beef  was  the  Englishman’s  food … ”

But also at official dinners of the United States Marine Corps during the presentation of the beef. Oh you roast beef of old England!

Cook “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too, whose complete work he has engraved in copy” (Thieme-Becker) and whose original format he maintained contrary to all later Hogarth editions in his first, earlier edition which, however, did not comprise the present sujet. For some sheets not published by Hogarth himself Cook became their first engraver, just as he also gained approval of a contemporary connoisseur as Maximilian Speck von Sternburg. Here present from Cook’s popular later, smaller Hogarth edition from 1806-09. – Trimmed within the wide white platemark.

Offer no. 14,748 / EUR  118. (c. US$ 129.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Henry Fielding (steel engraving)

– – – The same in steel engraving about 1840, but following Hogarth’s design limited to the actual portrait without medallion and therefore without the judicial and literary and theater accessories either. Inscribed as above. 5⅞ × 4¾ in (14.8 × 12.2 cm). – Weak foxspots in the head and inscription part.

Offer no. 14,749 / EUR  49. (c. US$ 53.) + shipping


“ … I was digging and I found you. I needed to tell you that your collection for whatever reason has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you … I’m not a collector, or I haven’t known myself to be … I was going to sell this (sheet), but I just may have discovered that I’m to keep this for whatever reason. Have you made a collector out of me … For all your devotion, hardwork … I thank you ”

(Mrs. D. H., June 17, 2002)