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William Hogarth, The Idle 'Prentice betrayed by his Whore and taken in a night cellar with his accomplice, a pri

Print (d)

  • Design sketched onto copper plate (c)

    Design sketched onto copper plate (c)

  • Final drawing (b)

    Final drawing (b)

  • Initial ideas (a)

    Initial ideas (a)

 

Height: 21.000 cm (working sketch)
Width: 28.900 cm (working sketch)
Height: 21.000 cm (working sketch)
Width: 28.900 cm (working sketch)
Height: 21.000 cm (working sketch)
Width: 28.900 cm (working sketch)
Height: 21.000 cm (working sketch)
Width: 28.900 cm (working sketch)

PD 1896-7-10-20, 1982-2-27-3, 1990-12-15-18, 1896-7-10-21

Prints and Drawings

    William Hogarth, The Idle 'Prentice betrayed by his Whore and taken in a night cellar with his accomplice, a print

    Published in London, England, AD 1747

    The making of a Hogarth print

    These four items illustrate different stages in the creative process involved in making one of the twelve prints in Hogarth's series, Industry and Idleness, which contrasts the stories of good and bad young workmen. The subject of this, the ninth of the series, is the arrest of Tom Idle.

    The first (a) is a working sketch where the artist is toying with ideas at an early stage of the development of his composition. It is a loose pencil drawing, with outlines more firmly put in with pen and ink, and shade indicated a wash of grey paint.

    Hogarth makes several changes to his basic idea in the final drawing (b). The drawing is on blue paper with the highlights in white and the shadows in soft pencil. The design is complete but Hogarth will alter and add details as he engraves the plate.

    The design was transferred to the copper plate by tracing over the lines with a sharp point. It is the copper plate (c) that the artist laboured over. Each line was either etched into the plate with acid or painstakingly incised with a graver. When the design was finished ink was pushed into the lines and an impression printed using a rolling press. At some point after Hogarth's death the words 'by his Whore' were removed from the title.

    The final product (d) is one of several thousand impressions pulled from the copper plate, which was eventually worn smooth by repeated use. Printing reverses the design, so that the print comes out as the mirror image of the drawing.

    R. Paulson, Hogarths graphic works, 3rd edition (London, The Print Room, 1989)

    D. Bindman, Hogarth and his times: serious, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

    T. Clayton, The English print, 1688-1802 (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1997)

    R. Paulson, Hogarth, vol 2 (Cambridge, Lutterworth, 1991-93)

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