Here  even  the  End  of  all  Things  comes  to  an  End

Indestructible , however , the  two  Cones  for  the

“ Analysis  of  Beauty ”

One  of  these  here  for  the  First  Time

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Tail Piece or The Bathos or manner of Sinking, in Sublime Paintings, inscribed to the Dealers in Dark Pictures. The end of Everything. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). 1798. Inscribed: Designed by W. Hogarth. / Engraved by T. Cook. / Published by G. G. & J. Robinson Pater-noster Row December 1st. 1708. (recte 1808), otherwise as above. 13⅜ × 14½ in (34 × 36.7 cm).

William Hogarth, Tail Piece or The Bathos (Cook)

Hogarth catalogue of the Tate Gallery, 1971/72, 222, + Hogarth catalogue Zurich, 1983, 94, both the Hogarth version of 1764 and with ills.; Christoph Wulf, Dying Time, in Anthropology. A Continental Perspective, 2013, p. 133, ill. 5.1 (this copy). – Extensive caption with – besides verses by Tacitus and Maximus Tyrius – important reference to Analysis of Beauty by two cone figures on the sides. While the right one quotes figure 26 of that the similar left one is new since

“ did not occur to the Author, till two or three Years after his publication of the Analysis, in 1754 ” (recte 1753).

It is

“ The Conic Form in which the Goddess of Beauty was worshipd by the Ancients at Paphos in ye Island of Cyprus. / See the Medals struck when a Roman Emperer visited the Temple. ”

In their intactness these cones have only seemingly nothing in common with the main picture above. For

“ The allegory has also a personal application. Hogarth characteristically regarded the eclipse of his artistic ideal and his own decline as the collapse of the universe and the end of the world. Time expiring bequeaths every atom of himself to Chaos. His testament is witnessed by the Fates ”

(Cat. Tate Gallery). And the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Nov. 8, 1997:

“ Rarely  an  artist  has  said  goodbye  to  the  world  that  movingly . ”

It is Hogarth’s last graphic work, seven months before his death. Artistically a recourse to Salvator Rosa the title is based on Pope’s poetical counterpart “Peri Bathous” as itself “a parody of Longinus’ ‘Peri Hypsous’”. Correspondingly Lichtenberg overweighs this aspect compared with the ultimate message:

“ A ridicule of the so-called academic school of painters … As known they pleased with allegories and compositions mixing up mythology of the ancient ages and newer conditions. ”

The  scenery  itself  of  an  unheard  of  radicalism .

Since also and especially those attributes otherwise signaling the ending of the times are affected by the ruin: Scythe and hourglass are broken here as are crown, pipe, palette, bottle, bell, the pub “The Worlds End” with the burning globe as its plate, the church as several other symbols of Vanitas. The clock lost its hands, the trees are as dead as the hanged man – and Phoebus in the burning celestial chariot together with his horses tumbling down to the bottomless abyss.

To crown it all Saturn himself as god of the time – the winged death – as of the wealth founded by agriculture breathes his last “Finis” while his last will – witnessed by the three Fates Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos – slips from his hand: All and every Atom there of to Chaos. Shortly “H. Nature Bankrupt”:

William Hogarth, Nature bankrupt

“ … a court file, decorated the English manner with the large seal as if it origins from the King’s bench. The title: Nature bankrupt, pronounces the content. The great seal rests upon one page of an opened book; the other page shows the words below: Exeunt omnes (All leave). The book thus embodies an English play, and the final act lies open with the indication

that  at  the  world’s  end

all  actors  go  off  the  stage .

As garnishing to the bankrupt of Nature an empty and torn purse lies beside the file ”


With the exception of the man in the thin crescent of the decreasing moon who still seems to be alive a bit. As also the gallows are standing fast. For “this it seems also the coming world cannot do without” (so on the lithograph by Heintz). To increase the bathos a few puns have been mixed in the whole mess: a cobbler’s end and last resp., a rope’s end, and the candle’s end.

At  the  same  time  of  absolute  eternalness

as for centuries the imminent end of the world is declared anew now in this, now in that shape, now by these, now by those, yet readily for own benefit:

“ The ecological crisis and the looming scarcity of resources are contributing to the spread of an ‘apocalyptic’ experience of life in which the end of time would seem to be increasingly imminent ”

(Christoph Wulf, op. cit., p. 132).

Wonderful, only slightly later copy of brilliant chiaroscuro and adequately wide margins and freshness of this fine print by Cook who “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too” (Thieme-Becker). As the only one of the posthumous editions he stuck to the original size. – With watermark “1811 W Balston”; cf. the double mark “J Whatman & W Balston 1813” Heawood 117. – In the right far margin two small slight tidemarks. The partial little foxing on the back perceptible quite minimally in just two spots in the heaven’s part.

Offer no. 7,545 / EUR  291. / export price EUR  276. (c. US$ 332.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Bathos (Tail Piece) (Cook small)

– – – The same in Thomas Cook’s smaller repetition. Inscribed: The Bathos. / Hogarth pinxt. / T. Cook sculpt. / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme, Nov. 1st. 1807. Subject size 6⅛ × 6¾ in (15.6 × 17.2 cm; sheet size 8⅜ × 10¾ in [21.2 × 27.4 cm]).

In the lower margin besides the title the two cones only, with no commentary, even without the reference “Fig. 26.”. – Very fine impression. – Trimmed within the extremely wide white plate margin which is somewhat time-stained below and on the right.

Offer no. 9,002 / EUR  50. (c. US$ 60.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Tail Piece or The Bathos (Rahl)

– – – The same in engraving by Carl Heinrich Rahl (Hoffenheim 1779 – Vienna 1843). (1818-1823.) 7⅝ × 9 in (19.5 × 23 cm).

The pure picture only anymore and thus without reference to the Analysis. Upper right “44.”, lower left “Pl. 6.”. – “Very interesting edition” (Nagler) after the engravings in the Duke Albert collection.

Offer no. 7,739 / EUR  87. (c. US$ 105.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Tail Piece or The Bathos (Riepenhausen)

– – – The same in engraving by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840, engraver at the university there and friend of Gottfried August Bürger’s). (1794-1835.) Inscribed: 44 / W. Hogarth inv. / R. d sc f. 8½ × 9¾ in (21.5 × 23.5 cm).

Early impression with distinct plate tone and extremely wide lateral margins. – Also the pure picture only. With respect to the wide lower plate margin it seems the lower margin’s arrangement was intended yet never done. Later the plate was trimmed below accordingly (cf. no. 12,144).

Riepenhausen’s Hogarth edition (“very estimable”, Nagler) is his main work, the plates of which partly are even preferred to Hogarth’s engravings.

Offer no. 7,740 / EUR  125. (c. US$ 151.) + shipping

– – – The same by Riepenhausen as before but on slightly toned paper of minor quality. 8⅝ × 9⅜ in (22 × 23.8 cm).

Offer no. 14,086 / EUR  87. (c. US$ 105.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Tail Piece or The Bathos (Riepenhausen)

– – – The same by Riepenhausen as before in an impression from the plate trimmed in the lower plate margin for the never entered text (cf. no. 7,740) of about 1850 on especially strong paper. 7¾ × 9¾ in (19.7 × 23.5 cm).

Offer no. 12,144 / EUR  115. (c. US$ 138.) + shipping

William Hogarth, Tail Piece or The Bathos (lithograph)

– – – The same in lithography by C. F. Heintz. (1833-36.) Inscribed: 34. / Das Ende aller Dinge (The End of all Things) / lith. C. F. Heintz, otherwise as above. 8⅛ × 8⅛ in (20.5 × 20.7 cm).

Also the pure picture only. – The really light foxing visible almost only against the light. – All in all good though not evenly tinted impression. – With extensive caption à la Lichtenberg in German:

“ As Hogarth got closer to his end he promised to paint the end of all things. And thus this plate resulted, a baroque tragic-comic compilation of innumerable things coming to a close. Death himself has broken his pipe, his scythe, his glass, and breathes the last cloud of tobacco with a Finis! He set chaos as his heir. The World’s End, a pub, falls apart, the times, though just a paper (Hogarth’s own plate The Times), is set alight by a candle’s end. Shoe brush and decoration ribbon, bow and gun, a worn out broom and a shattered bell, a play that has been played, and so much else lies higgledy-piggledy in a mess. Above the celestial chariot is burning and a church is just ruins. Only one thing held on – The gallows. It seems also the coming world cannot do without, so it remains upright anyway. Also his broken palette Hogarth threw amongst. He did not paint again since two (recte about seven) months later he had passed away. ”

Offer no. 14,087 / EUR  87. (c. US$ 105.) + shipping

– – – The same in steel engraving of c. 1840. Inscribed: Das Ende aller Dinge (The End of all Things). 5¼ × 6⅛ in (13.5 × 15.5 cm). – The pure picture. – On slightly browned paper.

Offer no. 7,742 / EUR  38. (c. US$ 46.) + shipping

  1. Almost 240 years later, Robert Murray will title chapter XV of The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (2002): The Chaos to come.

„ Ihre Schriften der (ridinger handlung niemeyer) Nr. 25 ist ein wundervolles Kompendium. Ich danke Ihnen diesmal besonders für die Sendung und bin sehr froh, die Zusammenstellung zu haben … “

(Herr G. K., 25. Dezember 2011)