“ Dramatic composition +
masterly physiognomic description of characters ”
Felix’ Mishap come into Picture
as a Joy of Looking of Special Kind
Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Paul before Felix. The trial against the apostle Paul before Felix, the Roman procurator of Judaea. Prosecutor is the lawyer Tertullus. 2 sheet. Engravings by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). 1799 and 1803 resp. Inscribed: Painted by Wm. Hogarth and Design’d and scratch’d in the true Dutch taste by W. Hogarth. resp. / Engrave(’)d by T. Cook, otherwise as above. 10⅞-16⅜ × 14½-21 in (27.7-41.7 × 36.7-53.3 cm).
“ The large religious sheets of H. are not only remarkable performances in a field far from the whole direction of his talent, but also evidence of the versatility and nimbleness of his mind.
Probably the most interest among these requires the painting
‘ Paul before Felix ’
… not just because of its dramatic composition, but also for the masterly physiognomic description of characters … ”
(Thieme-Becker XVII, 302/2).
Format and effect of the image corresponding to the originals – for once oil, for the other drawing – differing as no longer given in later Hogarth editions. Just as Cook – “made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too”, Thieme-Becker – as the only one also kept H.’s folio format. The opening sheet after the painting – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and Judgment to come, Felix trembled – in painterly-sturdy line conduction, the continuation – Tertullus with the “face of a solicitor who has lost a law suit … tears his plaint in anger”, Lichtenberg, but also Paul does not stand that fast as it may appear for his guardian angel has fallen asleep while a little devil saws through a leg of the stool – of the delicateness of a drawing. Common to both sheets, however, the marvelous quality of impression, their splendid chiaroscuro.
Thematically further on commented by Lichtenberg as following:
“ In regard of the Jews the costume has been … preserved truly. Tertullus, however, is dressed as modern lawyer, and that as an English, with periwig and gown … The audience … Netherlandish … At the door justice stands with the balance (indeed) as fat and well-fed lady with a well-filled money bag at the side(, but per crooked dagger together personified as executioner). The blindfold which otherwise covers her eyes has shifted … The sermon of Paul has had an effect on (Felix) by commanded fear … those sitting beside and below him hold their noses … the assessors of the court … have, to judge from their faces and the held noses, to feel the most nuisance from Felix’ terror. One points with a mocking face at the Roman … ”
Sheet 1 trimmed within the left platemark, below with cut of Robinson’s address. The upper margin, also trimmed without touching of writing though, somewhat creased and with old traces of stitching. Engraved by the way after the 1st state, thus still without Felix’ wife.
Offer no. 7,564 / EUR 910. / export price EUR 865. (c. US$ 958.) + shipping
– – – The same in Hogarth’s own engravings. 2 sheet. Inscribed: Paul before Felix. / Plate 1. / Design’d & Etch’d in the rediculous manner of Rembrandt by Wm: Hogarth. / Publish’d According to Act of Parliament May 1st. 1751. and And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and Judgment to come, Felix trembled. / Plate 2. / Engraved by Wm. Hogarth from his Original Painting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall & Publish’d as the Act directs, Feb. 5. 1752. resp. 10¼-16¾ × 13⅞-20¾ in (26-42.4 × 35,3-52.6 cm).
Nagler 38/39; illustration Hogarth Catalog Zurich, 1983, 74 (pl. 2). – Pl. 2 with the distinctive marks of the 3rd state of 1752. The erased text from Pope of the rare 1st state, which also lacks Felix’ wife, still recognizable in outline. – Also see the interesting, image-true variant.
Harmonic impressions on buff, extremely (pl. 1) wide-margined 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”]).
Offer no. 7,790 / EUR 603. / export price EUR 573. (c. US$ 635.) + shipping
– – The same in Cook’s small version, the first sheet worked together with his son. 1807/08. Inscribed: Hogarth pinxt. / T. Cook (& Son) sc(ulpt)., otherwise as above. Image size 5¼-5½ × 6¾ in (13.2-13.9 × 17 cm).
Trimmed within the wide white platemark. This feebly foxing in the outer margin.
Offer no. 8,947 / EUR 151. (c. US$ 167.) + shipping
– – – The same in engraving by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840, university engraver there). Inscribed: Paul before Felix. / Designed in the rediculous manner of Rembrandt by W. Hogarth. / R. Sc. and W. Hogarth pinx. / Riepenhausen del. sc. resp. 7⅛-7½ × 9⅛-9⅝ in (18.2-19.2 × 23.1-24.3 cm).
Riepenhausen’s engravings after Hogarth (“very estimable”, Nagler) belong to his chief work and not least for being in the original direction they are partly even preferred to Hogarth’s own engravings. Here on especially buff paper, supposedly about 1850. – The wide white margins somewhat age-spotted.
Offer no. 7,791 / EUR 302. / export price EUR 287. (c. US$ 318.) + shipping
– – – The same by Riepenhausen as before, but on slightly toned minor paper.
Offer no. 7,792 / EUR 271. / export price EUR 257. (c. US$ 285.) + shipping
– – – The same in steel engraving about 1840. 5⅛ × 6-6½ in (13 × 15.4-16.6 cm). – Title in German + English.
Offer no. 7,794 / EUR 91. (c. US$ 101.) + shipping
„ Herzlichen Dank für Ihre freundlichen und aufschlussreichen Ausführungen, die mir die Beschreibung des vorliegenden Exemplars sehr erleichtern. Schön wärs natürlich, wenn sich Ihre vielfältigen Kenntnisse zum Werk Ridingers vielleicht als Artikel, oder Artikelserie, im Aus dem Antiquariat oder einer Bibliophilen-Zeitschrift einem breiten interessierten Publikum zur Kenntnis gebracht werden könnten … Ich würde mich jedenfalls sehr darüber freuen, Expertenwissen aus erster Hand zu erhalten. “
(Kollege U. K., 12. Mai 2015)