Thought since long :
The Retort-Made Human from the Artificial Womb
Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Hudibras beats Sidrophel and his man Whacum. Hudibras at the astrologer + alchemist. The knight, an English Don Quixote, raising hell in a world strange to him, meeting a courageous magician and his frightened assistant. But also witnesses of the past and the future as there are a human skeleton from which an owl looks down, and a little human produced in a retort. Besides folios + reptiles nautical equipment as Jacob’s baton, quadrant, St. Barbara’s light, telescope, charts + globes. Come to spy out his chances of marriage to a rich widow the result induced him to blast it all. Engraving. (1726.) Inscribed: 8 / Wm. Hogarth Inven. et Sculp., otherwise as above + 4 6-lined stanzas as caption. 10⅞ × 14⅛ in (27.5 × 35.8 cm).
Detail: retort-made human
HUDIBRAS VIII. – Nagler 10-8; Hogarth Catalog Zurich, 1983, ills. 8. – 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”]).
The crocodile hanging from the ceiling together since the woodcut frontispiece to Ferrante Imperato’s Dell’historia naturale libri xxviii of 1599 as the earliest illustration of a Wunderkammer, or Room of Wonder,
“ a feature so widely imitated by subsequent collectors that later images of Wunderkammer collections are easily recognized by their floating crocodiles ”
(Florence Fearrington, Rooms of Wonder: From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1599-1899 , p. 9).
“ 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).
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. ”
Offer no. 4,713 / EUR 240. (c. US$ 275.) + shipping
– – – The same. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Pl. VIII. / Hogarth pinxt. / HUDIBRAS. / T. Cook sculpt. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme March 1st. 1808. Subject size 5⅜ × 6⅞ in (13.7 × 17.4 cm).
Cook “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too, whose complete work he … reproduced in engraving” (Thieme-Becker), maintaining in contrast to all later Hogarth editions in his first, earlier edition the original format. 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. – Here though present in Cook’s popular later, smaller version with the caption being replaced by the series title. – Trimmed within the wide white platemark and in its outer parts somewhat foxing.
Offer no. 8,855 / EUR 125. (c. US$ 143.) + shipping
“ At this time we are on our boat … I hope you extend the same faith in me as I have in you in paying for this sizable sum in advance (sight unseen) in the expectation of delivery … Best regards ”
(Mr. P. C., July 22, 2002)